NFTs have been embraced by Hollywood and the indie cinema sector for a variety of reasons. As consumers switch from physical disks to digital-only files and streaming, large traditional studios and streaming platforms like Paramount, Warner Bros., and Lionsgate see NFTs as a new source of revenue for their established intellectual properties (IP) and declining home entertainment industries.
With its experimental "Lord of the Rings" NFTs that unlock bonus features and a copy of the movie, effectively replacing the DVD with an NFT, Warner Bros. is rethinking its vision for the future of home entertainment.
Netflix's NFTs for "Stranger Things" took a different tack. The streaming service made the decision to reward players for finishing each week's online games with digital NFT posters of the show's stars.
As the greatest names in Hollywood begin to dabble in NFTs, some are charging fans for the digital treasures while others are making the process more engaging for gamers.
However, not all film NFTs are meant to be promotional or commercial; others are attempting to make them revolutionary. Niels Juul, an independent film producer who worked on Martin Scorsese's "Silence" and "The Irishman" projects, views NFTs as a method to support films that otherwise wouldn't be made.
Juul earlier said in an interview with Decrypt, "I know so many excellent screenplays that are laying there not getting done at sort of 10, 15, 20 million dollars because studios are looking at Marvel stuff, franchise stuff."
Juul founded NFT Studios and KinoDAO, the latter of which enables NFT buyers to have an influence on various filmmaking decisions and gain special token-gated access and benefits, in an effort to finance the tiny and mid-budget films big studios won't approve.
Bryan Unkeless, co-producer of "The Hunger Games," is in a comparable predicament, but he wants to use NFTs to finance and build a following for his next multimedia project "Runner." Before tackling any other types of media formats, such as a TV show or video game, Unkeless and his crew are concentrating first on lore and the creation of a "Runner" comic book.
The "Runner" team can develop a community and get direct fan feedback thanks to NFTs while maintaining the creative autonomy they desire.
In a recent interview with Decrypt, Unkeless said, "The difficulty with a lot of Web3 projects is that they have incredible visuals and even fantastic world-building, but they don't necessarily yet have the overarching concept and architecture that lends itself to multiple mediums."
"What we hope is that we have enough knowledge and expertise from games, film, and television that we know what works there," the statement continues. But not only Hollywood filmmakers are developing NFTs because they like the technology's promise. Celebrity actors like Scott Eastwood and Anthony Hopkins have also become involved with NFTs. Eastwood recently told Decrypt in an interview that he plans to similarly distribute NFTs of himself for his biggest admirers. Hopkins' collection of Ethereum NFTs that feature him in a variety of roles sold out in a matter of minutes.
Although it may appear that Hollywood is embracing Web3, not everyone is confident that the industry is on board just yet. In May 2022, "Runner" actor Bryce Anderson claimed on Twitter that Hollywood wasn't prepared for the transition. "Is the movie business prepared to accept NFTs? They're not, Anderson affirmed. "Many groups won't even accept superheroes, streaming, or digital cameras. However, whatever appeals to the public will eventually appeal to Hollywood.