When Movies Become NFT: What Are NFTs in the Entertainment Industry?

What Are NFTs in the Entertainment Industry

The movie industry is capable of more than just producing the next blockbuster. They are now dropping cool NFT collections for avid cinephiles!

After entering the digital art, games and music industries, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been making their way into the film and television space lately. Aside from preventing piracy and other intellectual property-related issues, NFTs reshape and accelerate the growth of the entertainment industry.

They also offer production houses an additional revenue source and give filmmakers a new approach to sharing their productions with their audience—by offering them pieces of the film that may be more priceless than a movie ticket.

While you may have watched some of the films listed below, you may not realize that all of them have their own NFTs! Get your crypto wallet ready because you may want to bring some of these NFTs home after you finish reading.

Zero Contact

Released in September 2021, Zero Contact became the first Hollywood feature film to be produced and released as an NFT on Vuele, the world’s first direct-to-customer full-length film distribution and viewing NFT platform. Vuele provides customers with two different choices of NFT bundles to collect, namely the “Exclusive Edition” (including the feature-length film, behind-the-scenes featurette, autographed digital poster and three character bios at US$59) and the “Collector’s Edition” (only includes the feature-length film and an unsigned digital poster at US$25). The company grossed nearly US$100,000 by releasing and selling the film as an NFT.

If the producers of Zero Contact are testing the waters, the NFTs didn’t let them down. The success the film gained indicates that releasing films as NFTs may be the future of the global movie industry, and Zero Contact will be the roadmap film studios will follow.

In The Mood For Love

Similar to Zero Contact, In The Mood For Love also illustrates the successful integration of NFTs into the film industry. The film turned out to be a huge success when it was released back in 2000. The film director, Wong Kar Wai, decided to turn part of his widely-lauded film into an NFT. He auctioned off the one-and-a-half-minute long unpublished footage (named “In The Mood For Love – Day One”) extracted from the first day of the film’s production in 1999.

The video footage, alongside two text files that contain the copyright provisions and the subtitles, were sold for HK$4.284 million (US$545,756.75) at Sotheby’s. “Today, we are able to eternalize this first day in a brand-new form. In the world of blockchain, this arrow can chart a new course.

Here’s to more of us that will live and chase that first spark in every flash,” says Wong. The fortune made by such short NFT video footage two decades later gives substantial value to the film and recognizes its success further.

Dune

Winner of six Oscars, Dune is undoubtedly one of the most critically-acclaimed films of 2021. As part of the promotional campaign for the film, the film production company, Warner Bros, and mass media company Legendary Pictures’ partnered with iv gallery, Lineage Studios and MakersPlace to issue two sets of digital collectibles for Dune named “Dune: Future Artifacts”.

The first set featured digital sculptures crafted in the likeness of the actors and was released on September 22, 2021. Meanwhile, the second set offered more digital sculptures and in-world weaponry and was made available on October 22, 2021, alongside the premiere of the film in 2021.

Interestingly, what catches more attention is not the film’s collectibles themselves but the bidding of Jodorowsky’s Dune, an artbook composed by director Alejandro Jodorowsky when he prepared for an adaptation of Dune half a century ago. In December 1974, Jodorowsky was invited to direct a film version of Frank Herbert’s epic science fiction, Dune, which turned out to be an abortive attempt due to a lack of funding. Some copies of Jodorowsky’s Dune were left and scattered around the world, with one of them auctioned at Christie’s and sold for nearly US$3 million to the anonymous NFT group Spice DAO.

The anonymous group aims to make the book public by turning it into an NFT and reproducing an animated version of the book. However, the US$3 million paid only includes the book and not the copyright. Spice DAO has since clarified that they do not plan to adapt Jodorowsky’s Dune, but intend to create something brand new based on the original story.

83

The global NFT trend also entered Bollywood. Kabir Khan, the director of the sports drama film 83, announced the film’s collaboration with NFT Labs and influencer-based platform Social Swag for launching the exclusive digital collectibles on the Polygon Blockchain on December 23, 2021. The 83 collectibles consist of autographed physical cricket memorabilia, animated digital avatars, video scenes and unseen posters and images.

“1983 has etched itself in history as the moment that changed Indian cricket forever. The story of that World Cup victory has been told and retold through generations—making this moment timeless. With NFTs, for the first time, people can own a piece of that moment and own a piece of history!” explains Atharva Sabnis, CEO of NFT Labs.

Barrack O’Karma 1968

NFTs have also been picking up steam with the television industry. Following the enormous success of supernatural romance drama television Barrack O’Karma (2019), its creator, Hong Kong-based broadcast company Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB), extended the legacy and released a second season, Barrack O’Karma 1968, this April.

Looking at the popularity of the animal character, LanBo (leng3 bou2), TVB offered 1,000 LanBo NFTs for fans to collect on the Ethereum blockchain right after the show ended in the same month. The LanBo NFT comes in a wide range of styles and appearances that match the drama’s setting and the characters’ features. For instance, LanBo may be holding Maurice’s (played by Joel Chan) camera in front of the Twilight Mansion. 

Apart from being a potential new revenue stream, NFTs make the entertainment industry more open and accessible to creators by allowing them to produce films independently. While enjoying greater creation and distribution freedom, filmmakers can explore more possibilities and add varieties to the global entertainment industry, which may be the next turning point that is worth anticipating.

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Header image courtesy of Pixabay

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