One of the reasons for Stanley Kubrick waiting so long to make the film, is that he wanted David (Haley Joel Osment) to be played by an actual robot. After Jurassic Park (1993) was made, Kubrick looked into using digital computer effects to create David.
Stanley Kubrick worked on the project for 12 years before his death, but along the way decided to let Steven Spielberg direct, saying it was "closer to his sensibilities". The two collaborated for years, resulting in Kubrick giving Spielberg a complete treatment and lots of conceptual art for the film prior to his death.
Haley Joel Osment suggested to Steven Spielberg that his character (David) should not blink. Spielberg agreed and went further to suggest that none of the androids should blink. In fact, several of them do (see goofs).
As a promotional tool, the creators developed an elaborate internet game of discovery and problem solving, through hidden messages and puzzles in internet sites, telephone answering messages, e-mail accounts and clues in the film's trailers. The game, set in the world of A.I. involved websites registered in several countries around the world as well as telephone numbers from across the US, and a group of followers called "The Cloudmakers" followed the puzzle, sharing information.
John Williams quotes Richard Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier" waltz in the underscore during the approach Rouge City. This was a done to honor Stanley Kubrick, who left few notes regarding the music except to tell Steven Spielberg that this Strauss waltz should appear in the film. Williams refers to his score, which contains a number of musical allusions to Kubrick's films in addition to the waltz, as his 'homage a Kubrick'.
The movie was originally to be titled A.I., but after a survey it was revealed that too many people thought it was A1. The title was changed to A.I. Artificial Intelligence to prevent people from thinking it was about steak sauce.
For the last seven minutes of A.I. the composer John Williams wrote a piano concerto, and it went over the length of the film. Steven Spielberg stopped the projector and told Williams to just let the music continue. Spielberg along with his editor Michael Kahn then re-edited the last seven minutes of movie into Williams' piano concerto. Spielberg did a similar thing years before E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), where he and Carol Littleton edited the last 15 minutes into Williams' music.
While this film was based on the Brian Aldiss short story "Supertoys Last All Summer Long," that short story has less influence on the movie than the famous poem by William Butler Yeats, "The Stolen Child." The text of the poem appears in the movie in two places, and certain stanzas take on literal meaning as well (e.g. "Till the moon has taken flight"). There are also many surprising similarities to the Philip K. Dick short story "Second Variety".
The band playing at the flesh fair, Ministry, was chosen by Stanley Kubrick himself, after overhearing a crew member playing a Ministry album one day on the set of Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Kubrick was also said to have liked the band because they used audio samples from his film Full Metal Jacket (1987) in their 1989 song "Thieves".
The character name "Professor Hobby" is an obscure reference to Stanley Kubrick, who produced his films in the United Kingdom under the name "Hobby Films," which never appeared on screen in any of his films.
The film also pioneered the virtual studio, a technique which allowed Steven Spielberg to walk through a virtual version of Rouge City with his camera and select shots. This technique was later used on "The Lord of the Rings" films.
The World Trade Center is seen in the New York scenes of the film, set many years into the future after 2001. Less than three months after the film's release, they were destroyed in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Though risking controversy and criticism, Steven Spielberg left the twin towers in the DVD release.
Includes many of the trademarks of Stanley Kubrick. Among these are the narration at the beginning; portrayal of dehumanization and the dark side of human nature; the shots down the length of tall, parallel walls, and "The Glare", with David's head tilted and eyes looking upwards; the scene in the bathroom; the three-way conflict between David, Monica and Martin; an obsessed hero; imaginary worlds; a journey towards freedom/knowledge; the use of previously composed music in Richard Strauss "Der Rosenkavalier".
At the preview showings of the movie, special posters were placed in the theaters with a list of credits for the "Puppetmasters": Jordan Weisman, Elan Lee, Scot Bayless, Sean Stewart, Dan Carver, Pete Fenlon, Todd Lubsen, Paolo Malabuyo, Mark Selander, Mike Pondsmith, Lynn Knight, David Wells, Shawn Ferminger and Christine Hill. No regular movie posters were displayed that night. The "Puppetmasters" were a team from Microsoft, with Steven Spielberg's blessing, and quite outside the studio's wishes, that ran the Internet game. No movie credits were listed. Many of the players' on-line game names were in vertical lists in an outline of the regular A.I. "Initials" movie poster.
After seeing Chris Cunningham's work on Judge Dredd (1995), Stanley Kubrick head-hunted Chris Cunningham to design and supervise animatronic tests of the central robot child character in his version of the film A.I. Cunningham worked for over a year on the film A.I., before leaving to pursue a career as a director.
When David and Gigolo Joe first arrive at Rouge City, and they drive through an arch shaped like a giant mouth, the film uses a piece of music preselected by Stanley Kubrick when he was still considering directing the film. John Williams thought the music fit perfectly with the way the scene was shot by Steven Spielberg.
David and Henry are somewhat distant from each other and, while Monica performs the imprinting sequence with David, Henry never does. Professor Hobby made David in the image of his own dead son. He tells David he's as real a boy as he's ever made; in a way, he has to lose his son again.
The elaborate series of promotional websites included information about the characters' lives after their last appearances in the film. For instance, one website revealed that Martin Swinton grew up to be an architect who, after being traumatized by David's disappearance, spent his career building sentient AI houses.