American movie theater company AMC Entertainment has partnered with Sony Pictures to launch a non-fungible token (NFT) project as a reward for the advance purchase of opening-day tickets to Sony’s new Spider-Man franchise, No Way Home. Cub Studios created the animations and 100 designs will be used to mint over 86,000 digital assets on the WAX blockchain to give away to the first ticket purchasers of movie tickets in all American locations.
The initiative is being used as a reward for loyalty. The reward NFT is only available to members of the AMC Investor Connect group, which is a platform that updates AMC stockholders on company news and special offers, and for members of the AMC Stubs Premiere or A-List. Members of Investor Connect must be part of AMC Stubs, a rewards scheme where members pay $15 per year and gain access to a point-earning system that enables cinema fans to exchange the points for exclusive perks and prizes.
Movie attendance had been on the decline for almost 17 years. Streaming platforms like Netflix make it easy to access movies cheaply and from the comfort of home. A Netflix account can be as cheap as $9 per month and yields access to hundreds of films, which is the same as the average price of a single AMC movie ticket in the U.S.
The Covid-19 pandemic posed yet another challenge to an already declining industry, which makes participation in loyalty rewards programs a boost to motivate people to consistently return to attend movies.
Despite the cinema sector’s challenges, AMC has a somewhat unique position as one of a handful of so-called meme stocks alongside Gamestop. At the start of the year, AMC’s stock price was $2.21. Currently, it’s $37 and reached $72 at one point this year, despite the pandemic. Meme stocks enable a company to raise capital very cheaply, and AMC has done just that.
Given meme stocks have a disproportionately high retail investor base, it makes sense to cater to that audience through activities that have popular appeal, such as NFTs.
“Our AMC Theatres guests and our AMC Entertainment shareholders have been calling for AMC to get into the world of NFTs, and we couldn’t imagine a more perfect way to start doing so than with our good friends at Sony Pictures,” said AMC CEO Adam Aron.
Other movie launches, including Warner Bros’ Dune and MGM’s James Bond, also used NFTs in their marketing campaigns. However, the digital assets were sold in auctions and used as an additional source of revenue as opposed to a reward.
However, some sports teams, including Mark Cuban’s NBA Mavericks and most of the NFL teams, are giving away NFTs to fans who attend the game in person. Considering how cheap and logistically uncomplicated it can be to manage NFT giveaways, it might be a good strategy to get people back to attending live events. Other attendance-based industries might join the trend.
Meanwhile, Disney has a partnership with VeVe for digital collectibles of some of Disney’s most iconic characters, including Spider-Man, minted in statues as NFTs. Disney’s Marvel launched a collection in August of five different NFTs differentiated by scarcity levels, with the most scarce having a starting price of $400. It also has NFTs for collectible comic issues.