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The director of ‘Men in Black’ is making a movie through NFTs

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Dinosaurs vs Aliens is an epic battle that has been petrified in Hollywood purgatory for ten years.

Based on the 2012 graphic novel by Men in black director Barry Sonnenfeld and legendary comic book writer Grant Morrison, Dinosaurs vs Aliens tells of an alien invasion during prehistoric times and the ensuing war for Earth. It had all the ingredients for a theatrical release: a rousing premise, a built-in audience from the graphic novel, and a well-known director and cameraman in Sonnenfeld. It was definitely intended to be a movie, but the project never made it out of the development phase.

“But I’ve always loved the idea,” Sonnenfeld says.

Last year, Sharad Devarajan, co-founder of Liquid Comics (the publisher of Dinosaurs vs Aliens) came to Sonnenfeld with the idea of ​​coming back to life Dinosaurs vs Aliens like a movie – through NFTs.

Devarajan had met with film and TV producer Dave Broome, who headed his new company Orange Comet, a creative studio that makes NFTs for entertainment. Rather than a static image or GIF, many Orange Comet NFTs are movie-quality CGI clips that are often tied to a bigger story or idea.

Stan Lee Chakraverse [Image: Orange Comet]

Orange Comet has made several NFT drops for AMCs The living Dead, Stan Lee’s Indian superhero Chakra, NHL teams Seattle Kraken and New York Islanders, the NFL Alumni Association and more. Orange Comet has also made deals with major Hollywood studios and streamers to produce NFTs around various properties.

But Broome’s bigger vision for Orange Comet is to create or acquire original intellectual property (IP) as NFTs, develop that IP with the community of NFT holders and then turn the project into a movie or TV show. One of the company’s first test cases will be: Dinosaurs vs Aliens with its first NFT drop slated for November.

Barry Sonnenfeld [Photo: Sasha Erwitt]

“I like the idea of ​​creating these different NFTs because it gives me a chance to recreate this as a new IP,” Sonnenfeld says. “Secondly, I would like to know more about the future. I am so old and white.”

Owners of projects including Bored Ape Yacht Club and DeadHeads are already using their NFTs for a variety of entertainment properties. Where Broome sees an obvious job for Orange Comet, storytelling is out the door with NFTs that basically look like mini trailers.

“It gives the fans something that feels like a really custom collectible that tells a little bit of a story in that NFT instead of just watching a monkey who is bored, hungry, tired, angry or whatever,” said Broome, co-founder and CEO of Orange Comet.

Orange Comet’s goal is to conquer the general entertainment market and bring those features to Web3 by focusing on story-driven NFTs. If done correctly, Orange Comet could become a viable force in Hollywood as a studio for building IP in the NFT space – that is, if it has room left over to build in.

“Shouldn’t the best creative person win?”

Nearly two years ago, Broome got a call from his friend Will Meris, director of asset manager Caliber Companies, telling him he was interested in starting an NFT company and wanted Broome to run it.

As a Hollywood veteran, especially creating The biggest loser and The ultimate beast master and producing Jennifer Lopez’s Netflix documentary PeaceBroome wasn’t immediately thrilled with the prospect of making a spindle.

“I hung up that phone and thought, I’m not going to think about this,” Broome says. “What the hell is an NFT that I’m going to give up a 25-year career?”

But when NFTs started to dominate pop culture, something scratched Broome — mainly that he wasn’t impressed with what he saw.

“To put it bluntly, it was shit,” Broome says. “It was almost like vomiting out a trump card. So I started to get excited about this because isn’t this the game of entertainment? Shouldn’t the best creative person win?”

Dave Broome [Photo: Orange Comet]

Broome took up his offer, launching Orange Comet last April with the mandate that everything the company works on must be story-driven.

Orange Comet uses the 3D design studio within Broome’s production company, 25/7 Productions, to create the NFTs, and it currently has about 55 projects in the works in sports, film and TV, live events and even real estate. good. While Orange Comet will continue to take on client work and special celebrity-driven projects, Broome is eager to expand the studio’s original IP as NFTs, with a clear pipeline to Hollywood. According to Broome, as a medium for IP, NFTs have become no different than podcasts or social media memes and characters.

“We’re not going to sit here, let’s just come up with something cool,” Broome says. ‘Let’s go, what’s the endgame? Where do we want to go? And how can we reverse engineer that story?”

“It’s a whole different world”

Dinosaurs vs Aliens will be Orange Comet’s first original project. While the details aren’t quite clear yet, you can get an idea of ​​what Orange Comet wants to achieve with their strategy by partnering with The living Dead

In conjunction with the show’s series finale trilogy arc, which began in August 2021 and will end later this year, Orange Comet sold 10,000 generative artworks in its first collection featuring The living Dead characters and original animations inspired by scenes from the show, all ranging in price from $50 to $250 and earning approximately $15 million. A second drop in April had 5,000 variations of Daryl Dixon’s (Norman Reedus) iconic bike. They sold out on OpenSea in seven minutes for a cost of $1.3 million. Orange Comet also created Walker Access Passes, one-on-one NFTs that give holders exclusive benefits, including first dibs on future drops, eligibility for a personalized final screening and access to a Walking Dead virtual universe.

[Illustration: Grant Morrison]

So in the case of Orange Comet’s original or acquired IP address, all NFT drops and subsequent metaverses would build up to what would become something like The living Dead—or the movie version of Dinosaurs vs Aliens

“I’m all for world creation,” says Sonnefeld. “I can be very involved creatively with both the story and the visuals without a traditional studio saying, can we get more close-ups?”

Even though it was a well-reviewed graphic novel, Dinosaurs vs Aliens stalled in development as a film adaptation mainly due to budgets. It’s long been a story in Hollywood that studios are only willing to buy blockbuster tent poles if there’s a broad and fanatical enough audience to support it.

“They want Fast & Furious† They want Mission Impossible† It’s hard to get studios to cancel checks for a brand new franchise,” Broome said. “I have to turn” [Dinosaurs vs. Aliens] to a massive following in the world of NFTs. I need to build a base of people and a huge global brand around it for Hollywood to take notice.”

To do that, Sonnenfeld and the Orange Comet team will partner with NFT holders to bring the world of Dinosaurs vs Aliens† One of the criticisms of the graphic novel was that it was too short at only 96 pages. That may have been frustrating for early readers begging for more content, but it leaves a long runway on where the story should go next.

The living Dead Daryl Bike Series [Image: Orange Comet]

“We’re finally coming to a point where I’m seeing a lot of convergence about how we think about the future of storytelling, the future between creator and community,” said Sharad Devarajan, co-founder of Dinosaurs vs Aliens‘s publisher Liquid Comics. “This is not a romantic comedy. This is a huge universe that Barry has created, where there’s so much we can unlock now.”

There are no hard details about which IP rights NFT holders will have, for example will they be able to use their NFTs in a commercial way? But Devarajan is clear about cultivating “creative alignment” with the community. Orange Comet effectively aims to bridge the gap between NFT enthusiasts just poking around the next big project and existing fans of entertainment properties like Dinosaurs vs Aliens† In case of The living DeadNFT drops with Orange Comet, 75% of buyers had never seen an episode of the show and 25% have never bought an NFT.

The living Dead Access pass for cycling girls [Image: Orange Comet]

“This is all about a value proposition for NFT buyers and fans alike,” Broome says. “Give them content that really gets them excited and engages them, and you’ll be flocking to the races. Do mediocre mundane work, like most projects in this space, and you’re going to have a hard time.

For Sonnefeld, developing miniclips from Dinosaurs vs Aliens is also a cheap outlet for experiments to flesh out the movie version.

According to the director, the last shot of Men in black where the camera zooms out to reveal that our entire galaxy is just a marble that aliens play with cost $750,000. That’s exactly the kind of enticing, story-building content Sonnefeld aims to create in collaboration with Orange Comet on Dinosaurs vs Aliens† The difference now, of course, is that such a shot will cost a fraction of the cost, given how far 3D rendering has come since 1997.

“We can try things without being incredibly expensive and worrying that you can’t do it because it’s too expensive,” he says. “It’s a whole different world.”

A different, if not dangerous world, indeed.

“The best has yet to come”

It is difficult to talk about the prospects of an NFT project without acknowledging the current downward spiral the space is in.

The recent crash in cryptocurrency has led to a slowdown in NFT sales. OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace, has seen: turnover plummets 75% since May. June was also on track to mark the first month since 2021 in which NFT sales totaled less than $1 billion. A silver lining is that it has never been cheaper to get into the NFT game. One wonders, however, whether this downturn, in addition to ongoing inflation, could have a cooling effect on NFT fervor in the longer term.

Broome believes the current volatility in the market is “extremely healthy” for the long-term success of NFTs and Web3, as it “washes the mess away”.

“We are in the middle of an 8.0 earthquake,” he says. “The weak structures that were never built properly collapse. What remains are those who had a solid foundation.”

Broome notes that the downturn has affected Orange Comet in the way they price their NFTs at a lower cost and reduce the amount of their drops. But he remains generally unfazed by the current state of the market. “This is a marathon for us, definitely not a sprint,” he says. “For a lot of people in this space, they took the money and ran away. But the truth is, the best is yet to come – just ask all those rescued in the early days of the dotcom era. This is history repeating itself. You don’t have to think about it.”

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