Dear People Planning to Fire Half Their Staff at Warner Bros.,
What’s this about your hallowed production house signing some artificial intelligence company to “help you make movies”? We read this press release that is now making the rounds in the media–and a few million blogs–about “a revolutionary new AI-driven project management system” made specifically for the motion picture industry.
Cinelytic is the name of this pioneering LA-based startup you have hired to leverage this snazzy AI-driven project management software and its CEO said something worth pondering:
Cinelytic CEO Tobias Queisser said, “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.”
Your peon fans have caucused and discussed how really cool that sounds, but um…why do you think you need such progressive help making movies? Are your people no longer skilled at casting, producing, and thinking? Do they take those really long lunch breaks and come back a couple hours later only to blame the generic “traffic”? They make us upset too but you do understand how this reads, right?
Are you replacing people with robots?
Sounds great and very avant-garde, but one minor thing: You are causing real people in your industry to eventually lose their jobs, file for unemployment, and end up working at a VHS store or become the greeter at some local box store.
And we’re sure nothing about that press release was meant to imply, “Some of y’all are about to be packing a box and feel a foot in your ass.” Surely you know that is damn heartless to warn employees to get their resumes spruced up via press release. However, more poignantly, it proves how incredibly lazy your storied company is becoming.
Aside from trying to put more cash in your coffers and fire unsuspecting, loyal employees, there maybe a more direct reason for this ballyhoo…
Did Justice League Lead to This?
Face it: Marvel has been kicking your ass for years. It’s okay to say it out loud.
Some of us are D.C. homers, but even we can admit Kevin Feige clearly understands how to build a cinematic universe. You tried and then got like a prisoner released from jail for his first night on the town–no taking time, no concern about what we enjoyed, and absolutely not worried about hitting a two-hour mark.
So, there’s that.
Last year, the boss’ boss, WB Chairman Toby Emmerich found a hot microphone and essentially flushed the beleaguered DCEU down the cinematic toilet. That was a sad day for true fans but we get it. Hail DC Films. You’ve been doing good with that focus WB. Shazam! was a runaway hit. Wonder Woman 1984 looks really good so far. And you now have those fans eating out of the palm of your money-grubbing hands with Birds of Prey.
Here’s the rub: Those same people you are about to unceremoniously hurl out of the back door made some magical decisions.
And now, time to forget their hard work because you’re like that ungrateful friend who only wants to look at the negative. We get it. We saw Suicide Squad, Justice League, and most of us still can’t agree on Batman v. Superman. People made some errors there, but some of those same people also did the following:
- Cast Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
- Cast Henry Cavill as Superman
- Took a chance on Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, and Ezra Miller
- Allowed James Wan to make his as well
- Allowed Todd Phillips to make his movie
- Allowing Matt Reeves to make his movie
In the 21st century, technology will rule the world. You know, kinda like that apocalyptic mess on The Terminator minus all the robotic homicide. However, while automotive plants adopt electronic car manufacturing to eliminate human error and we look into ways for self-driving cars to Uber everyone to safety, there is something to be said about the hunches, gut feelings, and rationale acuity of human beings in the movie business.
For instance, do you really think an android from Ex Machina could have foreseen Joaquin Phoenix winning the Best Actor at this year’s Golden Globes? How about Todd Phillips earning you greedy asshats more than $1 billion on that movie? Not to mention James Wan and his $1 billion movie. Robots can’t do that — people can.
And since the Walter Hamada-led team has been doing much of nothing but sitting on their collective behinds cashing in their checks while the Warner Bros. bureaucracy runs wild, piss-poor choices have been made, like…oh…
- Casting Jared Leto as Joker (and for many, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor)
- Bringing in Joss Whedon for your culminating moment
- Showing Zack Snyder a criminal amount of disrespect and pissing all over the mounds of tape you cut from the original (yes, most of us can admit that…not about that Phantom Cut)
- Allowing Flashpoint to act like a lamp barely plugged in — it’s on, it’s off, it’s on…well, you get it.
- Trashing Green Lantern Corps about as fast as the first time you tried that mess. (BTW, where is Geoff Johns anyway because he sure isn’t working with you)
- Doing the same thing with Swamp Thing on that “network” of yours.
People Are Strange
Jim Morrison sang about it. People really are strange, but they are also passionate. Robots aren’t. They look at facts, numbers, and results. That’s all they spit out, but even the great sabermetrics goobers in baseball will tell you, those numbers don’t always tell the whole picture.
And to make a dent in the highly subjective world of comic book movies, where (unfortunately) most people think they are an expert just because they spend 20 minutes reading a single comic while in the john, you need real people who can see the whole picture.
Yes, most people are strange. However, we must specify something… Warner Bros., your people suck.
Last summer, we wrote an open letter to DC Comics, but no one responded, so we are directing this one to you. Our vitriol was meant to alarm you to something — we see what you are doing (and, for an immense section, are not doing) and it’s not working. You have gone course-correct and it’s working.
Here’s another rub: It’s working because you are trusting people.
They are passionate about the final product. From acting to directing, scoring to sound effects, and all the points in-between that connect your recent batch of films to the fans, they care about what they do…and it shows.
And now, you want to stop trusting them and watching where this track record will go by trusting robots to do something you can’t?! Listen, we know Marvel has the Midas Touch but you’re good at this too (sometimes). Keep trusting those people… just empower them. Put a padlock on the door and keep your dunnderhead suits out of the creative process. You don’t care about the fans. They do.
Hopefully, someday, we can all go out, have some lunch, play a riveting game of Twister or Cards Against Humanity and be friends again. Until then, you’re awful, like a “Kardashian trying to act” bad.
Unplug the robots and give the power to the people. Mkay, thanks.