Warner Bros. Plans ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ NFT Project (Exclusive)

Warner Bros. Plans ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ NFT Project (Exclusive)

BYALEX WEPRIN | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren for CNT #Digital #Technology

The studio and partner Nifty’s will sell 100,000 unique ‘Matrix’-inspired avatars, and next month the buyers will be given the option to transform them by taking a “Red Pill.”

TheMatrixuniverse is expanding to the blockchain, the latest example in a series of efforts by traditional Hollywood power players to break into the non-fungible token (NFT) space.

Later this month Warner Bros. will release non-fungible tokens inspired byThe Matrixfranchise and the upcoming filmThe Matrix: Resurrections.

Unlike other NFT projects based on Hollywood intellectual property, theMatrixproject is instead taking its inspiration from some of the red-hot NFT“avatar”artprojects, likeCryptoPunksand Bored Ape Yacht Club, where the buyers are buying a unique avatarfrom thoseworlds.

TheMatrixNFTswill be released in partnership with the social NFT platform Nifty’s, which will create 100,000 avatars, and will sell them for $50 each starting Nov. 30. The avatars will represent characters living in the Matrix. On Dec. 16, all buyers will be able to choose to take a “Blue Pill,” which will keep their avatar in the Matrix, or a “Red Pill,” which will transform it into a resistance fighter. In coming months there will be other challenges and options, letting users upgrade their avatars, or earn new NFTs.

The choice for users mirrors that of the characters in the franchise, who take the red pill to escape the Matrix.

“We really think that theme, of digital identity, and choice, and owning that identity, resonates with the themes inThe Matrixfranchise,” saysJeff Marsilio, CEO and co-founder of Nifty’s. “It was an opportunity to take what was already a grassroots movement with the NFTavatar, andtake itfurthermainstream.”

Warners has been experimenting with NFTs since early this year, and previously partnered with Nifty’s on a set ofSpace Jamdigital collectibles. Pam Lifford, president of WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences, says that NFTs “[have] potential to be a long-running part of our global portfolio of products and experiences for fans.

“If you think about all the ways fans of content can interact with their favorite characters and stories in 2021 — retail stores, theme parks, social media, collectibles, online shops — digital art and collectibles are certainly on that list now,” she says. “It’s another touchpoint for fans to engage, and another way we can entertain and provide great content.”

NFTs have become a popular experiment for IP owners, with Fox Corp., Lionsgate and ViacomCBS among the companies signing on to NFT projects.

In October,Lionsgatereleased NFTsbased on the killertrapsfrom theSawfranchise, whileViacomCBSsays it is planning to release NFTsbased on its film and TV IP.Fox, meanwhile,has already released its first FNT projecttied toThe Masked Singer, and isplanning an animated series,Krapopolis, that will be “curated on the blockchain,” according to the company.

However, the avatar-centric theme of theMatrixprojectis a differentiator, as thecharacters consumers will buy aren’t from the movies at all, but rather live in that universe.

Some of the NFT avatar projects, likeCryptoPunks, are seeing examples sold on the open market for the equivalent of millions of dollars, with owners using their avatars across social media platforms and elsewhere.

Larva Labs, the creator ofCryptoPunksand other projects likeMeebits,have signed with UTAfor film, TV, and gaming representation, while some high-profile NFT owners,like the pseudonymous “0xb1,”have signed with agencies to represent some of their acquisitions.

“Given that enthusiasm [for the franchise], and the very nature of what theMatrixstory and settings are about, an NFT program seemed perfect,” Lifford adds.

Marsilio says that entertainment companies have slightly different needs when it comes to exploringthe spacethan, say, digital artists. Particularly aroundroyalty payments,brand safety and clear ownership of the IP, as wellaround how NFTs fit into the overall digital strategy.

“A million fansisworth more than a million dollars, and that engagement drives activity, drives revenue, and drives your business goals,” he says.

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By Troy Warren

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