'Zero Contact' to be first feature film to be distributed using NFTs

Rick Dugdale, Director, Producer & Vuele Co-Founder, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the film 'Zero Contact' and how it is being distributed using NFTs.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: All right, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Hannibal Lecter. You remember when he was in "Silence of the Lambs," that poor census taker, that scene where he had dinner, fava beans, Chianti? We'll go-- we'll leave that in the past because the future is now. And Anthony Hopkins is premiering a new film, "Zero Contact." But here's the deal. It's premiering via NFT. And they're doing this on Vuele.

Let's find out what the future holds with our guest, Rick Dugdale, who is the director and producer, as well as the Vuele co-founder, because I believe tomorrow, the 28th, is when this drops for the winner of the NFT auction. So does that mean the rest of us don't get to see the new Anthony Hopkins film?

RICK DUGDALE: Well, you know, first of all, thanks for having me. I think what we have with this film is possibly a new play in Hollywood as a revenue stream. It will be the first NFT feature film. And tomorrow, the auction closes. And hopefully we've created a new way to distribute a movie.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, Rick, when you talk about a new way to distribute movies, this is a huge push here into crypto. I guess, what do you see as THE future of Hollywood and the crypto space? I guess, how much demand, how much appetite have you seen for these NFTs so far?

RICK DUGDALE: Yeah, I think you're seeing a lot of people in our space looking at NFTs and Blockchain as a way to finance movies. And with this as strictly the distribution play, I think the future is Blockchain for the film business, both from a transparency standpoint and a new way to distribute globally. I think that what this film is going to have is hopefully success, based on what we're seeing from the auction and the interest picking up. Hopefully, this is the one that's going to do it.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Can you share with us where the auction stands right now, the pricing? Is there a reserve for the NFT?

RICK DUGDALE: There are reserves. And the 10 of 10 will be finishing later today. The one of one finishes tomorrow. And we will see what the subsequent drops look like in the future.

SEANA SMITH: How about the opportunities here for deeper fan engagement? Do you see this as a huge opportunity in that space?

RICK DUGDALE: Yeah, we do. I think in NFT distribution, not every film is going to work as an NFT distribution strategy. But what we're looking at from "Zero Contact" is the gamification and the fan engagement and coming into the space and earning the respect of the crypto and the NFT space, not using it just as a marketing tool. So with "Zero Contact," it has a gamification built in. We have crypto artists involved in our universe building.

And as you'll see from some of the NFTs we have now, it's all designed around engaging the fans, getting them to come back. When people see a movie in the theaters or see it on streaming, that can be the end of it. So we're looking at this as a way to engage them, having them come back into our universe and working with them, learning from the community, and building these films that way from a universe building standpoint.

ADAM SHAPIRO: I'm on the web page right now. And I'm curious, though. Would there be-- will there be a release at some point for those of us who don't have the bucks to buy the golden ticket? Or is this the way that films are going to get dropped and maybe there will only be a couple thousand people who buy the NFT that corresponds to their portion of the film? They get to see it, and the rest of us are out of luck.

RICK DUGDALE: Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, what we're setting out to do here is to prove that there's a revenue stream in Hollywood that has never existed before. So for us, if you're making a few hundred thousand dollars off an NFT release and then it continues to go in a traditional pathway, that won't have all the exclusions that you would have in the fan engagement and the community building that you have in the NFT world.

But what we're trying to say here is that a blockchain NFT distribution strategy is something that has never existed before. So this could be a scenario where it's prior to a theatrical release, prior to home entertainment, prior to a streaming play. This is just something new for us to look at in Hollywood as a way to find additional revenue streams that weren't there before.

SEANA SMITH: In terms of the interest that you've seen so far, is it mostly from millennials? Is it from investors of all ages? I guess, what are you seeing demographic wise?

RICK DUGDALE: Well, with this film in general, you have Anthony Hopkins. So the demographic is skewing older, of course. You're looking at more collectors and higher ends, the Christie's, Sotheby's type of collectors. But from the pure fan engagement gamification with the crypto artists, you're seeing a younger demographic looking at that. So I think every film on NFT and on Vuele is going to look different, the marketing strategy. But for this, we have a pretty wide demographic, people looking at it from both ends of the spectrum.

ADAM SHAPIRO: When you talk to Hollywood producers and Hollywood studios, have they said a metric by which they would say this was a success? Can you share the number with us?

RICK DUGDALE: I don't think it's a number per se. I think it's engagement. I think people look at this and say, there's enough people engaged. It's a global audience with NFTs and crypto. And you're seeing a lot of uptick around the world, looking at this. And I think there's some distributors that say if you're making a few 100,000 in its revenue stream, that's a huge win.

That's something that wasn't there, especially in the independent space, to be able to provide that additional revenue, a different additional component of your finance plan. But I think we're proving that there's an audience for this. And you're seeing with the auction right now, you're seeing some of these people engaged that are looking at this as the future.