Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, in partnership with blockchain pioneer Eluvio, announced Thursday the launch of the WB Movieverse with the “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (Extended Version) Web3 Movie Experience. You can purchase it starting tomorrow and preview it now here.
According to the official press release, the new “Lord of the Rings” movie experience will offer “an exciting new way for fans to engage with the film through 2 dynamic menu experience options –The Mystery Edition and The Epic Edition. Both allow owners to watch the extended version of the film in 4K UHD, access more than 8 hours of special features, view image galleries, discover hidden AR collectibles, and explore themed navigation menus based on iconic locations from the beloved film, as well as own and trade the experience in a community marketplace.”
TheWrap spoke to Jessica Schell, EVP at Warner Discovery Home Media and Michelle Munson, CEO and co-founder of Eluvio, about what this new experience really means. Schell says that Warner Bros. is looking at NFTs as “a new way to distribute to the fans” and teases that if this release is successful, that the “Lord of the Rings” experience will be “the first of a series of Web3 movie experiences.”
Schell then detailed the two versions that will be up for sale – The Mystery Edition (for $30) includes a surprise interactive location-based navigation menu from one of three film locations (The Shire, Rivendell, Mines of Moria), location-specific key art, the extended edition of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” over 8 hours of special features, image galleries specific to the location assigned, and hidden AR collectibles. And the Epic Edition (for $100) includes all three location-based navigation menus, along with all the features of the Mystery Edition. The Epic addition also includes additional image galleries not included with the Mystery Edition.
The big draws for fans are the immersive menus, the AR experiences and the fact, as Schell said, of “everything together in one place” – every special from every release will be right here.
For Munson, she touted that the experience is “foundationally different,” with all of the content being delivered “all on blockchain.” (All together, thanks to various language combinations, there are 160 versions of the film, and it all streams seamlessly.)
Munson described the entire ecosystem as “low cost/high fidelity.” And part of the fun, she said, was that this version of “Lord of the Rings” will exist in your “media wallet.” You can list it for sale or keep it there and show it off. According to the official release, “to participate in this novel experience, fans create a secure, easy-to-use media wallet that acts as a digital vault and enables consumers to stream and purchase content via credit cards or crypto wallets.”
“Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” was a technologically advanced film that pushed boundaries of what was possible. It makes sense for it to do the same (yet again) on home video.