Fanatical collectors of Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” will get the chance to buy limited-edition multimedia nonfungible token (NFT) versions of the fantasy epic.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is teaming with blockchain company Eluvio to launch “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (Extended Version) Web3 Movie Experience, which will be available in two different editions that drop Friday, Oct. 21 at web3.wb.com. It’s the first time a major studio is releasing a movie as NFTs, which are unique identifiers that verify ownership of digital content.
“The Fellowship of the Ring” NFTs are the first ones to be available in the “WB Movieverse,” a new marketplace that will in the future include other titles from the studio. Jessica Schell, GM and EVP, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, said future releases are yet to be determined. On the platform, fans will be able to buy, sell and trade movie NFTs.
WB and Eluvio are minting 999 copies of the Epic Edition, priced at $100 each, and 10,000 of the Mystery Edition for $30. Both allow buyers to watch the extended version of the film (which clocks in at 3 hours and 48 minutes) in 4K UHD, along with access to more than eight hours of special features; hundreds of images; and hidden AR collectibles. The Epic Edition includes navigation menus for three film locations — The Shire, Rivendell, Mines of Moria — along with location-specific key art. The Mystery Edition includes one of them, assigned at random. The Epic Edition also includes extra image galleries not in the Mystery Edition.
“First and foremost, we’re always looking at ways to delight and surprise our movie fans and collectors, and that’s especially true for ‘The Lord of the Rings,’” Schell said. “It lets fans experience the movie in a whole new way.”
Schell called “The Fellowship of the Ring,” which premiered in 2001, an “evergreen” film with a passionate fanbase. The NFT drop of the movie also comes amid Amazon’s Prime Video release of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” series, so J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth has been in the zeitgeist of late.
The extended edition of “The Fellowship of the Ring” has been available in previous WB Home Entertainment releases, as has all eight hours of the bonus video content. In the NFTs, that’s all packaged up in one experience, along with the new AR collectible items (e.g., a magic wand) hidden throughout the different locations. Note that in addition to be available for purchase in various formats, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” is also currently streaming on HBO Max (in both standard and extended versions). So why would someone want to buy one of the NFTs?
WB and Eluvio are calling “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (Extended Version) Web3 Movie Experience a “living movie experience,” rather than simply a copy of the movie. Warner Bros. “can personalize content for each NFT — to make it more of a gameified experience over time,” said Michelle Munson, CEO and co-founder of Eluvio.
As for how Warner Bros. decided on the number of NFTs to be minted for this release, Schell explained, “It’s that balance between wanting it to be available to fans, and also wanting to have some level of scarcity and exclusivity.”
To purchase one of the NFTs, users must create an Eluvio media wallet that acts as a digital vault and lets consumers stream and purchase content. The “Fellowship of the Ring” NFTs can be purchased via credit cards or cryptocurrency wallets.
Eluvio’s Content Blockchain allows for Web3 native media experiences, and the company claims it provides a “significantly more carbon-efficient alternative” to other platforms for digital asset management and NFT minting. With the “Lord of the Rings” release, the core digital assets of the experience along with derivative NFTs are all on the blockchain, not just the token (NFT) itself. That means smart contracts and content experiences can be dynamically updated over time.