Movie About the Devil, that Made $666,666 at Box Office, Under Fire for Using AI

The indie horror movie Late Night With The Devil raked in $666,666 on Sunday at the box office in the United States, despite facing boycotts over the use of AI-generated imagery in the film.

Late Night With The Devil made that exact amount on March 24, with the film’s overall earning since its opening last week reaching $2.8 million, according to a report by Dazed.

The horror flick, meanwhile, is frightening people in more than one way, as those who work in entertainment worry about the future of filmmaking and what their roles in the industry will look like in the wake of AI.

Watch the trailer below:

Late Night With The Devil, starring David Dastmalchian, is about “a live television broadcast in 1977 goes horribly wrong, unleashing evil into the nation’s living rooms,” according to the film’s IMDb page.

Notably, the movie has been facing boycott calls and review bombing — not due to its devilish vibes, but because of the use of AI technology in the film.

Viewers have pointed out that AI detectors flagged some of the imagery in the film’s fictional live television broadcast as AI-generated, citing a dancing skeleton and a “We’ll be right back” message displayed during the fictional show’s commercial breaks.

Strikingly, the skeleton in question has mangled, incomplete hands, a key indicator of AI-generated content, as the technology hasn’t yet figured out how to create realistic hands.

Some critics have expressed concern that the use of even a small amount of artificial intelligence in the film is a “big deal” because it sets a precedent for more to AI to be implemented in future flicks, which could eventually lead to the elimination of humans working in various positions in the entertainment industry.

“Many chiming in on Late Night With the Devil with variations of ‘it’s just 3 AI images, what’s the big deal?’ The big deal is that it always starts with small images and TV show intros to cut corners and undercut artists,” Canadian film journalist Matt Bellissimo wrote on X/Twitter.

“Innocuous moves to pay people less for work,” he added.

A slew of critics also took to the comment section of a post about the film on Letterboxd to express their dismay.

“There’s AI all over this in the cutaways and ‘we’ll be right back’ network messages. For this reason I can’t enjoy the amazing performances and clever ending,” the post read. “It actually feels insulting when that skeleton message shows up repeatedly, like the filmmakers don’t give a shit and want to let you know that you’ll accept blatant AI in your 70s period piece.”

The reviewer also warned readers about a potential slippery slope with regards to AI in movies, adding, “Don’t let this be the start of accepting this shit in your entertainment.”

Some commenters were conflicted, arguing that the backlash is overblown — but not everyone agreed with that sentiment.

“It’s weird that people are pointing out how minimal the AI is in the film, when that’s not the fucking point,” one commenter lamented. “This is only the beginning of AI in our media. if this film is successful, AI will just be more and more prevalent in contemporary ‘art.’ Graphic designers exist for a reason and many talented folks will be out of work if this becomes a norm.”

Another commenter asserted, “It doesn’t matter if its an indie company or not, we just shouldn’t allow this stuff on movies no matter what plain and simple.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and X/Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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