Toys ‘R’ Us is using OpenAI’s Sora to make a branded film about its origin story and it’s horrifying

The rise of artificial intelligence in our media and entertainment industries has raised many concerns that programs like Open Al’s text-to-video creator Sora will replace human artistic efforts and aspirations. If these AI-made films are anything like a new Toys ‘R’ Us origin story movie, the only thing we’ll have to worry about is watching them.

Current Toys ‘R’ Us owner WHP Global worked with Emmy-nominated creative agency Native Foreign to create a branded short film titled The origin of Toys ‘R’ Us using Sora, OpenAI’s text-to-video creator. The film premiered at the 2024 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and can currently be viewed on the toy retailer’s website.

The origin of Toys ‘R’ Us only lasts a little over a minute but it’s a mixture of confusing and strange. The film features the younger version of the toy store chain’s founder, Charles Lazarus, who comes up with the idea for his iconic business creation and its giraffe mascot, Geoffrey, but almost everything takes place in a sort of fantasy dream. cosmic fever. It’s like someone tried to adopt M3GAN’s hollow demeanor, dressing him up like Opie Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show and drop it into the remains of an exploded toy store near the edge of the universe.

In the film, Mini-Charles is a starry-eyed kid who hangs out at a bike shop owned by his father and looks like a cross between Billy Eichner and John Denver. Little Charlie falls asleep and has a weird dream about some sort of Dr. Seuss planetarium where every type of generic toy you could dream of sits on shelves and floats above his head. It’s in this magical place that he meets Geoffrey the giraffe, the store’s iconic mascot, who seems like Sona used a different AI to generate it.

The film leaves out the part where Lazarus wakes up in the emergency room after accidentally eating “all the mushrooms” that gave him the retail fever dream.

Sora is a generative AI model that creates “realistic and imaginative scenes from textual instructions,” according to the OpenAI website. OpenAI presented its video generation model in February. Sora can generate videos around a minute long from text instructions. It is not yet available to the public.

The current state of Toys ‘R’ Us isn’t as rosy as its trademark film suggests. The toy store chain filed for bankruptcy in 2018, closing all of its stores in one fell swoop. Acquisition company WHP Global took over the brand’s parent company Tru Kids Inc. in 2021. Two years later, the company announced plans to expand the toy store brand with new locations in airports and cruise ships, starting with a location at Dallas-Fort Worth International. Airport and locations of the Macy’s department store chain.

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