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This article was contributed by Earl Flormata, CMO of Mogul Productions.

The non-fungible token (NFT) community Arabian Camels is making a $50 million Hollywood film called “Antara.” The movie makers recently announced a highly anticipated NFT drop for the project, which allows holders to partly fund the movie, own a share of digital rights and benefit from its box office achievements. 

This project is just a glimpse into what NFTs could achieve in the world of entertainment. 

NFTs started out as standalone pieces of art and memes by individual creators and today is a massive industry that’s swarming with innovative NFT projects today. In 2021 alone, an estimated $41 billion worth of NFTs were sold, which is a testament to their growing popularity and value. 

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Major industries like art and gaming have benefited from NFTs already, and recent developments suggest that the realm of entertainment could be next in line to receive a transformative blow from the NFT industry. 

Integrating NFTs into the movie business  

Worth over $2.2 trillion, the global entertainment industry isn’t only one of the most valuable industries in the world but also a huge part of our culture. Over the span of a century, the industry has never failed to amaze its audience with enticing movies, TV shows, music, and it has stood the test of time, staying relevant even today.  

The entertainment industry has historically been quick to adapt to technological advancements, whether with the advent of television sets back in the day or streaming services of the 21st century, and it uses these technological advancements to its advantage to keep viewers hooked. So, it’s only natural that when a revolutionary technology like NFTs presents itself, the industry embraces it. The opportunities this brings to the table are truly groundbreaking. 

Transforming the entertainment industry

NFTs in entertainment have the potential to completely transform the way films are made, produced, and distributed, democratizing this unilateral industry in the process. To understand this better, we go back to Arabian Camels’ Antara project. This big-budget Hollywood epic is one of the first films to be produced by the NFT community, demonstrating the concept of movie NFTs.

For the makers and producers of films, this means that they’re no longer limited by budget constraints or the difficult financing methods of top production houses. Movie NFTs provide a way for them to distribute part ownership of the movie to its viewers, raising the required funds in the process. This is especially useful for budding filmmakers and artists who are hardly visible in the industry. Specific roles like “producer” can be represented and offered as an NFT, making its owner the producer of the film. And through all the stages of filmmaking, NFTs can be offered as a way to include the community in the decision-making process, market the project and build a loyal fanbase beforehand.     

For the elite production houses and large film franchises with millions of followers, however, NFTs provide a unique opportunity to solidify their fandom in the metaverse. Multiple production studios like Disney are already working on NFT marketplaces and in a recent development, Lionsgate signed a strategic partnership with the NFT platform Autograph to create NFTs for huge franchises like Mad Men, John Wick, and The Hunger Games. 

“NFTs present a tremendous opportunity for mixed-reality world-building experiences, deepening user engagement and interaction and fostering a community for our hundreds of millions of global consumers to create one-of-a-kind digital collections and Autograph is the optimal destination for this discovery,” claims Jenefer Brown, Executive VP & Head of Lionsgate Global. 

The NFTs to be released could range anywhere from character avatars to video clips from the films. 

Now, in the case of emerging artists, technicians, musicians and directors, NFTs could be their on-ramp to popularity within the industry. The fact that Ben Mauro, a Hollywood concept artist, earned more in seven minutes with his NFT collection than he has in the 12 years of working in Hollywood is telling. Just like Mauro, these emerging artists could use NFTs in unique ways to represent their talent, garner an audience and increase their visibility in the industry. 

Movie merchandising is another realm where NFTs in entertainment could make a huge difference. Fans have long been collecting posters, clothing and character figures from their favorite films, and NFTs add a new dimension to this. The rarity of NFTs gives fans the satisfaction of owning a part of the film that cannot be replicated. Celebrities can also make the most of this opportunity by creating NFT merchandise collections for their fanbase. This particular trend has picked up quite recently and celebrities like Eminem, Justin Beiber, SnoopDogg and Jimmy Fallon have all followed suit. 

While these are the current use-case scenarios, Anndy Lian, CEO of BigOne exchange, says that NFTs could soon be embedded into movies, making them interactive and giving users something to hunt for.

If we look at the whole picture, the integration of NFTs into the entertainment industry allows users to actively participate every step of the way. Both viewers and creators have the chance to connect beyond the screen and thus take the industry to unimaginable dimensions. 

How NFTs open closed doors

Since its inception, the entertainment industry has been opaque in its operations, shutting down external interference. This stringent way of operation vastly limited opportunities for emerging artists trying to make it in the industry. But with the NFT integration, the entertainment industry is now opening its door to a wider section of artists, producers, and viewers. While producers and creators have new ways of monetizing their work and raising funds, viewers now have a way to directly participate in the industry’s happenings, not only to fund films but also earn from their gain. This symbiotic relationship between viewers and creators could change the face of global entertainment in the years to come. 

Earl Flormata is the CMO of Mogul Productions.

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