Disney movie ‘Prom Pact’ freaks out audiences with ‘horrendous’ AI extras

A disturbing blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment from a recent Disney teen film is getting attention on social media, with those who’ve spotted it labelling it “horrendous.”

The Disney teen rom-com Prom Pact was first released in March this year, but one short clip from the movie is spreading online this week.

The scene shows a cheering crowd at a high school basketball game – but one row of audience members look markedly different to those around them.

While the people in the front row are all normal human actors, a close look at the row of “people” them is very disturbing indeed: Dead-eyed and stiff, their bodies jerk strangely as they stare straight ahead.

They seem more like animated blow-up dolls than humans.

That’s because they’re not humans – they’re “digital models,” added into the frame in post-production, presumably to save on paying real, human background extras.

The second row of students in this clip are computer-generated humans.
People are calling the animation “horrendous.”

The clip caused a minor controversy back when the film was released in March, but has been shared widely again after one person on Twitter re-shared it with the caption: “Reminder this is what SAG-AFTRA is fighting against.”

As the clip spread again, the bizarre-looking extras were labelled “horrendous” and “abominations.”

Others noted that the row of “digital” extras appear to mostly be people of colour, potentially taking acting work away from performers from diverse backgrounds.

It comes as talks between Hollywood actors and studios over the ongoing strike collapsed overnight, in a blow to hopes for a swift end to a crisis that has crippled the entertainment industry.

The Disney teen rom-com Prom Pact was first released in March this year, but one short clip from the movie is spreading online this week.

In a statement late Wednesday, the studios said talks would be suspended, describing the gap between the two sides’ positions as “too great,” with talks “no longer moving us in a productive direction.”

Hours later, SAG-AFTRA hit back by accusing the studios of using “bully tactics” and “putting out misleading information” about the negotiations.

AI has proved a major sticking point in the negotiations. Actors fear that the technology could be used to clone their voices and likenesses, allowing them to be reused in perpetuity without compensation or consent.

Studios say they have offered to create strict protections such as requiring actors’ “advance consent,” and limits on repeated use of a performer’s “replica” unless they agree and are paid.

But SAG-AFTRA said the proposal regarding AI was “continuing to demand ‘consent’ on the first day of employment for use of a performer’s digital replica for an entire cinematic universe (or any franchise project).”

“We have sacrificed too much to capitulate to their stonewalling and greed,” SAG-AFTRA said.

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