Disney Slammed for Alleged AI Use in Recent Film, Fans Horrified and Outraged

in Disney, Movies

Mickey Mouse looking shocked

Credit: Disney

Earlier this year, the film industry as we know it was changed forever.

As the writers’ and actors’ unions went on strike in an effort to help earn higher wages and gain protections against the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry, they caused a Hollywood strike that has lasted for almost six months. During this time, reports and accounts from various people within the industry have come to light, accusing studios of implementing AI technology in order to scan actors and use their likenesses.

Marvel 'Secret Invasion' AI art intro
Credit: Marvel

Marvel itself featured actual AI art in the opening sequence of its latest Disney+ release, Secret Invasion. While the series was a disappointment for several reasons, the fact that the show included AI imagery at all rubbed audiences the wrong way. In addition, Marvel was also accused of using AI art in some of its promo posters for Loki Season 2, prompting backlash from fans online.

Disney also faced false accusations of using AI in a promo image of its latest upcoming animated feature, Wish, further adding fuel to the fire of accusations and outrage against the studio. It also doesn’t help that Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger reportedly called the strike demands “unreasonable,” and has been losing favor amongst fans for the last year.

Bob Iger with Disney logo
Credit: Inside the Magic

Recently, however, a video has gone viral on both TikTok and on X/Twitter for a similar reason. The video features a scene from the Disney+ original movie, Prom Pact (2023). The short clip shows student cheerleaders and a group of students cheering and clapping on the bleachers. However, an entire row of characters seem to be AI, or at the very least, computer generated. @_ChristopherM posted the clip to X with the following caption.

“Noticed it’s a whole row of AI actors. Yikes! Disney is insane and just more reason why the AMPTP needs to ditch this plan to replace background actors with AI. The uncanny valley will always make your show/film look like hot garbage and age like milk.”

The characters in question look very out of place compared to the actors around them, their movements are very stiff and uncoordinated, and it’s very clear that they are not human. The clip has gone viral, with many bashing Disney for its use of apparent AI characters. While they’re more likely just badly done CGI models, it didn’t stop fans from blasting the clip on social media.

“Horror movie where each actor one by one gets replaced by AI,” quipped @RoeGraceM. “They’re not even trying to hide it oml,” @roslyntalusan tweeted in response to the video. “No bc I thought I was going crazy. When I tell you that was BONE CHILLING,” said a comment in response to the video posted to TikTok.

“When you’re done vomiting remember that the problem here isn’t that they look like zombified shit, but that living, breathing human beings with bills to pay were put out of work for this,” stated @JayLender1. “I’m obsessed. it’s so glaring that you’d swear they did it on purpose for covert viral reasons. girl’s moving like kevin’s mannequins in home alone,” replied @DinosaurDracula.

A scene from the Disney+ original movie 'Prom Pact,' featuring a row of supposedly AI characters
Credit: Disney+

Many comments expressed similar confusion, outrage, and disgust across both platforms. Although studios have often used CGI characters to fill in gaps in crowds and larger scenes, the fact that these characters are not only very front and center of the scene, but also look incredibly poorly done and are out of sync with the rest of the crowd makes it a glaringly obvious addition to the scene. The movie was also released in March of this year, just two months before the start of the strikes, making its use of AI/CGI characters a timely issue.

“Disney is already using AI to eliminate actors. This is the very beginning of this process. With time and permission, lead and voice actors will quickly follow. Support actors. Support SAG,” tweeted @BeyondFest. Unfortunately, as the actors’ strike continues to drag on due to failed negotiations with the studios, and with major studios like Marvel and Disney already using technology to replace actors, it’s a serious concern of many actors and fans.

With Disney being one of the biggest studios in the world (if not the biggest studio), the scene from Prom Pact and other AI uses set a dangerous precedent for the film industry. Clearly, it’s an issue with the fans, although only time will tell how studios choose to move forward.

What do you think about studios like Disney using obvious AI or CGI characters and elements in film and television? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

in Disney, Movies

Comments Off on Disney Slammed for Alleged AI Use in Recent Film, Fans Horrified and Outraged