Picking the best movie professionals for your latest project is an art that takes years to master. Even the most experienced producers such as David O. Selznick made mistakes from time to time and found themselves rushing to find a replacement mid-production.

Today, artificial intelligence moviemaking has become a powerful tool to help producers and production companies make the right choice for their projects. How does this work and, more importantly, does it really work?

In a recent webinar, Largo.AI decided to analyze the talents of 600 directors in order to find the best matches for eight different genre test films. We will examine 3 of them. The remainder you can find by clicking the webinar video link at the end of this article.

Let’s start with a brief introduction to how Largo.AI works.

Empower Your Gut Feeling With Artificial Intelligence

“Largo.AI has learned from a very rich data pool. 400,000 movies and series, and 1.8 million talents (movie professionals) have been analyzed.” – Largo.ai CEO Sami Arpa.

Largo.ai is a sophisticated artificial intelligence program that has used the above data pools to construct a large neural network that allows the system to understand the ingredients or content elements of any given film.

According to Arpa, this allows the system to understand the “DNA of a film”, from the start to the end. To date, Largo.ai has learned to understand more than 1000+ different attributes that help it to identify the ratios of all the ingredients that makeup the overall recipe of a film.

This understanding allows it to analyze a director’s past work in order to establish their suitability for a future project.

What a Difference the Director Makes

According to the findings of Largo.AI’s model, the ROI effect of differnt professionals on the financial success of any given film are as above.

The results indicate that aside from the distributor, it is the director that has the biggest impact on the financial success of the film.

These insights highlight just how important it is to pick the right director for a project.

Largo.AI Results

Largo.AI analyzed 8 genres:

  • Drama
  • Comedy
  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Sci-Fi
  • Horror
  • Romance
  • Thriller

In 3 different financial earnings categories:

  • Low – $5-20 million
  • Medium – $29-60 million
  • High – $60+

All other variables are fixed. Only the director is changed.

Result for Drama – The Pursuit of Happyness

The results represent the top 5 directors found by AI for each budget category.

The results for an alternate director for this film are very interesting as they are not all directors that one might first think to pick for such a project.

In the low budget category, Billie Woodruff, a director known for musicals, comes out on top with a 16.7% increase in return on investment.

In the medium budget category, Steven Soderbergh came out top with a 22.7% increase in return on investment, and in the high budget category, Chris Columbus came out on top with a 23.0% increase in ROI.

Perhaps a surprising addition to the list are Richard Linklater and David Fincher. Fincher, in particular, is known for his dark, brooding subculture movies and would not be a director one might think of for such a film subject. However, this is certainly not to say that he wouldn’t have been able to make it into a good film, which is what the AI system is concerned with.

Results for Comedy – Devil Wears Prada

Largo Tech Lead Ilaria Lauzana points that Largo.AI’s results show just “how important choosing a director is for a comedy movie.” Going on to point out that “comedy is the genre where we see the highest increase in prediction overall.”

This is something that is well known within the film business. So much of the success of a comedy film depends on the director. In just one example, famous comedy actor John Belushi once complained that his last movie was ruined by an incompetent director who “doesn’t understand comedy.”

So the addition of well-known comedy directors such as Woody Allen and Kevin Smith to the list is no surprise. However, given the variety of the different types of comedy, a director like Smith might come as a surprise.

More interesting are directors such as Guy Richie who are not overly known for comedy films. However, when examining their work closer, it is apparent that comedy plays a big part in their storytelling, as in the case of Richie’s Sherlock Holmes films.

Results for Action – John Wick

In the action category, it also comes as no surprise that it is in the high budget range where choosing the right director makes the biggest impact to return on investment. While the suggested directors are far less surprising or diverse than we saw with our comedy film, it is possible to imagine any of them directing this film.

Perhaps most interesting is the system’s matching of Nicolas Winding Refn with this film in the low-budget category. This would certainly be an interesting prospect as the director has the ability to replace the film’s big action sequences with innovative storytelling techniques that would result, in part, from the need to make the film on a smaller budget. An interesting pick by Largo.AI indeed.


To End with a Poll

The above examples give an insight into just powerful a tool AI filmmaking systems are becoming.

How much did you agree with LargoAI’s findings?

We are going to leave you with a poll to see how much you agree with LargoAI.

Which director do you think would bring the highest ROI for the movie Tenet in the high budget range?

Watch the full Largo.ai webinar to find out the answer (27 minutes in for those of you in a rush).