The Lord of the Rings NFTs are Now Available

At least one of the major Hollywood studios is mulling the possibility of shifting its focus on the home entertainment market away from DVD collections and toward NFTs.

Warner Bros. announced on Thursday that it would be releasing new fan translations (NFTs) for its classic film “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring,” which was released in 2001.

The NFTs, which are practically an all-in-one digital experience, features a 4K copy of the film, hours of supplementary behind-the-scenes footage, a large number of stills from behind the scenes, and exclusive augmented reality collectible materials that are inspired by the film.

The NFTs were developed by the Web3 business Eluvio, and it is now hosting them, along with all of the content data, on its blockchain that is compatible with Ethereum’s Content Fabric.

In an interview, Eluvio CEO and Co-founder Michelle Munson (2) stated in regard to the NFTs that “the essential digital assets themselves reside on the blockchain.” This statement was made about the blockchain.

“They are both owned and attested to, and all of the streaming that you’ll see with the film, with the AR objects, the interactive experience, and the audio commentaries are both authorized and distributed directly from the Content Fabric blockchain,” she said. “You’ll see all that when watching the movie.”

NFTs are one-of-a-kind blockchain tokens that serve as a representation of ownership. The purchase of a single “Lord of the Rings” NFT grants the possessor the same permission to watch the movie as would be granted by the purchase of a Blu-ray DVD in this particular scenario.

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In the age of digital technology, ownership

Even though these NFTs aren’t encouraging their holders any kind of commercial usage rights, each one is primarily a digital-only DVD with more experience-based, immersive menus and some exclusive augmented reality (AR) assets like Gandalf’s wand, for whom the QR code could be scanned with a mobile phone and analyzed in different real-world environments, similar to how a Snapchat filter would work.

This marks the first time that the production company will be making full-length feature films available as NFTs. Customers who save NFTs in their MetaMask wallets, as opposed to purchasing films from online retailers such as YouTube, Amazon, or Apple, can experience a deeper sense of digital ownership of the media they consume (though Warner and Eluvio are also offering a custodied option).

In addition, consumers can pay for LoTR NFTs with a credit card, USDC on Solana, Ethereum, ETH, or Bitcoin – something that is not possible when using an Apple TV.

In this day and age of digital media, do you think that NFTs will become the method of choice for cinephiles seeking a more personal and intimate sense of ownership?

Given Eluvio and Warner’s control over the metadata and their unquestionable ownership of the NFT’s intellectual property, one could also make the case that self-custody in this situation is only a symbolic gesture.

 

The NFT Experiment Carried Out by Warner

Warner’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment, Jessica Schell, stated that the launch of NFT is an experiment designed to determine whether or not a wider audience has a desire to eat for direct-to-consumer content that incorporates Web3 elements.

According to Schell, “that it’s truly using Web3 or NFTs behind the hood will be simple to overlook, and that is by design.” “We think the idea has implications as a potential new way to handle movie distribution directly to our fans,” said one of the company’s representatives.

A sneak glance at the content that is included in the “Lord of the Rings” NFT. Picture courtesy of Warner Bros.

If it is successful, Warner may consider converting more of its titles into NFTs, and it may even build out its own NFT marketplace, where users could fractionalize their NFTs and trade specific assets from their purchases, such as the AR wand filter. Schell said that if it is successful, Warner may also consider building out its own NFT marketplace.

When asked about Warner’s strategy for Web3, Schell responded, “We want to learn, we want to engage, and we want to understand what works in this environment.”

At this time, fans will only be able to trade their complete NFT collections on Warner’s NFT marketplace as a single bundle thanks to the Lord of the Rings launch.

Munson stated that “any one of them can be individually tokenized as well,” adding that it would be “quite trivial” for Eluvio to do so in the future at some point.

 

A Period Characterized by Change

Because the home entertainment industry is always changing and studios are seeking for methods to maintain their competitive edge, Warner Bros. is also investigating the possibility of using NFTs.

We do still offer tangible products in retail, even though the demand for such goods is shrinking. And in the meantime, digital distribution accounts for a significantly higher market share, according to Schell. We have a long history of modifying our business models in order to serve the needs of the target audience better.

 

But will NFTs eventually become the standard practice in Hollywood?

“I believe that it needs to be seamless in order for it to get to the point where it can receive mass acceptance,” said Schell. “There are still a lot of perceived barriers to connecting with the blockchain,” the author writes.

However, the NFTs also protect Warner’s intellectual property from piracy, a significant issue plaguing the film business.

Referring to digital rights management (DRM), Munson said, “The film, for example, once it is streamed, it is protected through DRM, and that the Eluvio Content blockchain implements DRM.” (1)

If you don’t own this NFT, you won’t be able to stream that because the authorization for the keys that make up the DRM is controlled through blockchain contracts.

While this is the first time that Warner Bros. has placed a wager on NFTs, it is hardly the first Hollywood company to do so. To cite just a few examples, Lionsgate has distributed NFTs for its horror franchise “Saw,” Paramount has distributed NFTs for “Star Trek,” AMC has distributed NFTs for “Walking Dead” since the beginning of this year, and Netflix has been criticized for its “Stranger Things” NFTs.

But Schell isn’t bothered in the least by the other competitors. In point of fact, she has high hopes that more studios would produce Web3 experiences using their intellectual property.

“We’re in the beginning stages of the game,” she remarked. “I really enjoy seeing what other studios are working on, and I kind of welcome all of it,” she said.

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