The Disney series “Prom Pact” is mocked for its AI-generated extras

October 15, 2023

Disney AI

Months after its release, the romantic comedy “Prom Pact” launched on Disney platforms last March has been ridiculed for its overt use of AI-generate extras.

A clip from the movie was shared on X, where digitally-generated characters, which appear noticeably artificial and rather ghastly, are seen cheering amidst genuine actors.

The clip has since been extensively mocked across social media. 

This issue of replacing human actors with AI is sharp in focus against the backdrop of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike that has halted Hollywood’s production.

It’s not the first time a TV program has been outed for its blatant and distasteful use of AI. “Secret Nation” (also Disney) was blasted earlier in the year for including AI-generated images in its credit scene, which incited similar criticisms to this latest Disney debacle. 

Disney’s Secret Invasion whipped up a storm surrounding its AI-generated credit sequence.

One of the leading points of contention in the actors’ SAG-AFTRA strike is the potential for an actor’s image to be digitally replicated without obtaining proper consent and fair payment. 

Specifically, actors fear their work might be condensed to a mere day if studios digitally replicate their personas and integrate them into different sequences. 

The figures in Prom Pact are blatantly non-human, but sources close to The Hollywood Reporter disclosed that they aren’t AI-generated replicas of real people.

Instead, they were fashioned using various existing non-AI VFX methodologies, implying that these AI characters were the product of CG artists’ expertise. 

Disney has a longstanding relationship with cutting-edge and emerging technologies and has clearly stated its intention to invest in AI. 

In May 2023, on a post-earnings conference call, Disney CEO Bob Iger said, “It’s pretty clear that AI represents some pretty interesting opportunities for us, and some substantial benefits.”

Disney listed 11 highly-paid AI jobs on their website a few months ago, touching a nerve among SAG-AFTRA members. A Disney insider said, “Legacy media companies like Disney must either figure out AI or risk obsolescence.” Netflix also listed several AI-related jobs with massive salaries.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that employing digital extras to simulate crowds isn’t a novel concept in Hollywood. Films such as “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and TV series like “Ted Lasso” don’t genuinely recruit thousands of extras for vast stadium sequences.

A recent statement from AMPTP, representing major film studios, confirmed that their latest proposal to SAG-AFTRA regarding AI mandates actors to provide written consent. 

Additionally, they must receive a comprehensive outline detailing the intended application of their digital duplicate if it’s requested or signed over. The strike continues.

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


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