A Netflix True Crime Doc Used Nightmarish AI Images Of The Killer


It’s been a big week for AI-generated image flubs. Beloved indie studio A24, which has recently begun to pivot away from its arthouse roots and towards bigger-budget IP with franchise potential, has got off to a rocky start with promotional posters for Alex Garland’s new film “Civil War.” With a production budget of $50 million, it’s A24’s most expensive film ever, and it appears the studio attempted to save a few pennies by commissioning AI-generated posters for the movie. (According to a fan account, these posters were made by digital marketing agency Watson, which has previously partnered with A24 on other releases and also created a generative AI microsite for “Civil War.”)

While the posters might look normal at a brief glance, a closer look quickly reveals unchecked AI errors. A source close to the movie told the Hollywood Reporter that the basic concept behind the images was “powerful imagery of iconic landmarks” within the war-torn world of the film. However, AI image generators are notoriously bad at accurately depicting “iconic” locations, since every image includes an element of randomness. Not only is the above depiction of Los Angeles’ Echo Park Lake inaccurate, but it appears that the prompt included a request for one of the lake’s signature swan-shaped pedal boats. The AI instead generated a boat-sized swan. The resulting poster gives the impression that “Civil War” is a kaiju movie about soldiers hunting the giant swan.

The other posters have similar flaws. For example, this attempt to depict Chicago’s Marina City invents an imaginary fork in the river where there isn’t one in real life, and moves one of the two iconic towers away from its partner and into the imaginary island in the middle of the river. 

Boy, Chicago really got hit hard by that civil war.


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