Warner Bros.’ Lord of the Rings NFT ‘experience’ sounds like a nightmare

Warner Bros.’ Lord of the Rings NFT ‘experience’ sounds like a nightmare

For reasons that only Warner Bros. Discovery can truly know, the multimedia entertainment giant has partnered with Web3 firm Eluvio to release The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in its entirety as a set of NFTs meant to kick off the “WB Movieverse,” an endeavor that makes less sense the more you hear about it.

Today, Warner Bros. announced the impending arrival of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Version) Web3 Movie Experience,” a cumbersomely named rerelease of Peter Jackson’s 2001 film that will live on Eluvio’s branded Content Blockchain. In a press release about their partnership, Eluvio CEO Michelle Munson sang Warner Bros.’ praises for its commitment to NFT projects and said that their partnership is poised to help bring films-as-NFTs to an even bigger audience of consumers.

“Fans of The Lord of the Rings can now acquire, participate, and trade in an epic living media experience that will undoubtedly surprise and delight them,” said Munson. “It’s truly designed for a mass consumer audience, not just Web3 enthusiasts, which is why it should, and does, feel so remarkable and engaging.”

A screenshot of WB’s Movieverse where you can buy a Lord of the Rings Movie NFT.Image: Warner Bros.

You can already buy and permanently own physical copies of The Fellowship of the Ring and all of Warner Bros.’ Lord of the Rings films in 4K. But the studio’s banking on a handful of NFT-related features being enough to convince people to buy either the “Mystery” or “Epic” editions of the movie as their first step toward becoming embedded in WB’s Movieverse.

Along with a digital copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, the $30 Mystery Edition comes with one of three interactive navigation menus modeled after The Shire, Rivendell, or the Mines of Moria, as well as a selection of image galleries related to that location, eight hours of special features, and a number of “hidden AR collectibles.” The $100 Epic Edition comes with access to menus and pictures from all three locations, as well as an assortment of other pictures not found on the cheaper option. Users will also be able to view their AR collectibles on their phones after discovering them sprinkled throughout the movie NFT, which will only be viewable in a browser.

According to an Eluvio spokesperson, Warner Bros. plans to release more of its films as NFTs like this in the future, and one potential use case for the Movieverse going forward could be to act as a marketplace for users to buy and sell these asset bundles amongst themselves. Eluvio also said that Warner Bros. could consider minting each individual asset (like a single, specific picture) included in the movie NFTs in order for them to one day be sold independently of the larger bundle.

Unsurprisingly, none of that functionality’s going to be part of WB’s Movieverse at launch. And it feels safe to question whether it ever will because it’s hard to imagine Warner Bros. will really be able to sell people on what sounds very much like a gussied-up, browser-based DVD selection menu masquerading as a collectible item.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition) Digital Movie NFT will be available to purchase on October 21st. 

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