Audiences are turning to classic films to understand the current AI craze

19 April, 2023

ChatGPT was released by OpenAI on November 30th, 2022 and initially seemed to have all the makings of a viral obsession. Once it was open to the public, social media was flooded with funny uses of the tool. If we look at the Google Trends data on global web searches for the term “ChatGPT” we can see there was a clear early spike in interest for this novelty that peaked in mid-December. However, it wasn’t until the start of this year that public awareness of the artificial intelligence tool took off, ultimately reaching a fever pitch in late March. Google shows that the peak search interest to-date was on March 21st.


We have clearly passed the point where people see this as a quirky tool and are beginning to realize that something has been unleashed with a deeply transformative potential for society. As people think through the implications of AI like this beyond serving up dinner recommendations or writing a sonnet in the style of Eminem, they are turning to movies that have already imagined what a future with advanced artificial intelligence might look like.

We have already seen the breakout success of “M3GAN” this year. The horror movie follows an AI doll who becomes self aware with sinister consequences. It was released in theaters on January 6th - perfect timing to ride the wave of AI induced anxiety that was beginning to take hold around the world.

But it isn’t just new content like “M3GAN” that audiences are finding relevant for understanding this moment in time, many other sci-fi movies have grappled with the idea of what artificial intelligence means for humanity. These older movies have seen a resurgence in demand that has coincided with the spike in interest in ChatGPT. Nearly all of the movies we looked at that dealt with artificial intelligence saw increased demand in the four months since ChatGPT launched. Below are the movies that saw the most growth in their demand.


The oldest of these movies, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, was also the one that saw the biggest surge in demand, up 64.4% in the four months since ChatGPT was released. The latest film in “The Terminator” franchise, “Terminator: Dark Fate” had an over 50% increase in its demand and the rest of the franchise benefited from increased attention as well.

The takeaway is that audiences are hungry for content that imagines what a future with advanced artificial intelligence looks like. We’ve seen new content like “M3GAN” that meets this need have phenomenal success. Older movies in the AI sci-fi genre are also getting a boost. Because the disruption from advanced AI will be a long term trend, any new content that touches on this topic will likely benefit from increased audience attention. Amazon’s “Blade Runner 2099” series can’t come soon enough!

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