In a first for a major Hollywood studio, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has released one of its top films, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, as an NFT. The company teamed with blockchain specialist Eluvio to release two different versions of the extended edition of the movie in the “WB Movieverse,” which is expected to offer other WB films as NFTs in the future (although specific titles haven’t been announced yet). A total of 999 copies of the Epic Edition were minted, priced at $100 each, along with 10,000 of the Mystery Edition for $30.
In addition to the inherent scarcity of the NFTs, which could impact their value over time, the NFT-based movies come with AR collectibles and there’s potential for Warner Bros. and Eluvio to unlock other perks for NFT buyers in the future. Michelle Munson, CEO and co-founder of Eluvio, noted that they “can personalize content for each NFT — to make it more of a gamified experience over time,” although specific plans were not outlined. It’s likely no coincidence that Warner Bros. chose The Lord of the Rings as its first film to test in NFT waters, as the franchise has seen a resurgence in popularity as Amazon’s blockbuster TV series, Rings of Power, has been drawing considerable attention.
It remains to be seen if consumers will embrace full movie purchases as NFTs. On the acting side, meanwhile, a growing number of Hollywood stars have been minting and selling their own NFT collections. Among them, perhaps none is more renowned than Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins, whose first-ever NFT collection sold out in just minutes after it was announced in mid-October. Hopkins’ “Eternal Collection” contained over 1,000 original art pieces to commemorate his long Hollywood tenure in films like Silence of the Lambs and TV series like Westworld. The 84-year-old Welsh icon compared being in NFTs to “being on the moon.”
The NFTs are more than just an art collection. The Web3 agency that Hopkins worked with, Orange Comet, helped the actor offer some real utility to NFT buyers. For example, purchasers have a chance to gain a one-on-one brunch with Hopkins, autographed physical prints of the artwork, or audio clips of Hopkins talking about the types of archetypes he assumed in his roles.
According to Interpret’s newly released VideoWatch report, NFTs in Entertainment: Dynamics & Opportunities, utility – not investment – is one of the bigger drivers of NFT adoption in entertainment. As the Hopkins example shows, NFTs can further boost engagement with an audience while providing unique perks. The report also finds that NFT/crypto buyers typically spend more time with digital entertainment (both games and on-demand video) than the general population.