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Will the Next Batman Movie Be a Hit? Warner Bros Is Using a Robot Brain to Make Sure

It's another sign that Hollywood's traditional antipathy toward algorithmic thinking is fading away.

Warner Bros

In the Batman movies and cartoons, Bruce Wayne has a supercomputer that helps him track down the bad guys. Sometimes Morgan Freeman helps him with this stuff, or in the ’60s, it was just self-generating, spitting out all sorts of cool ticker-tape info whenever Batman needed it. But now, it looks like Batman movies will start using IRL supercomputers to help make better movies. That’s right A.I. is going to try and predict if the next Batman movie will suck or not, and Warner Bros. — the movie studio that makes Batman — is all about it.

Warner Bros. just signed a deal with Cinelytic to use its artificial intelligence-powered project management system to “guide decision-making at the greenlight stage,” The Hollywood Reporter reports.

The Cinelytic platform is the product of four years of building and beta testing, the integration of comprehensive data about various facets of the industry and predictive analytics that are meant to help studio executives decide which films to buy at film festivals—where bidding wars can escalate quickly—and guide packaging, marketing, and distribution decisions.

“The system can calculate in seconds what used to take days to assess by a human when it comes to general film package evaluation or a star’s worth,” says founder Tobias Queisser.

The deal is groundbreaking given Hollywood’s traditional antipathy toward algorithmic thinking, a phenomenon that makes sense in an industry full of narcissists who value gut instinct over other ways to make decisions.

It is important to note is that the Cinelytic platform and its competitors are purely business tools; a computer won’t be writing the next indie sleeper hit or huge blockbuster any time soon.

“Artificial intelligence sounds scary. But right now, an AI cannot make any creative decisions,” says Queisser. “What it is good at is crunching numbers and breaking down huge data sets and showing patterns that would not be visible to humans. But for creative decision-making, you still need experience and gut instinct.”

In other words, Cinelytic is designed to help studio execs decide when to release a certain film, which actress to cast in the leading role, how much to budget for its production and marketing, and other factors that can make the difference between a hit and a flop.

Warner Bros. joins a bevy of production companies, film financiers, and Sony Pictures as an early adopter of Cinelytic’s technology. Time will tell if their investment was worth it.