Blockchain company tZERO has partnered with Vision Tree, to help the latter finance the upcoming “Atari: Fistful of Quarters” movie through tokenization.
tZERO, a subsidiary of Overstock.com, will develop the “Bushnell” token, in a nod to the center of the Atari biopic, Nolan Bushnell. The movie will be co-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. Vision Tree will sell the tokens to investors to raise funds for the Atari movie. The plan has been in the works for more than a year and they hope to raise up to $40 million. For reference, “Green Book”, which won this year’s Oscar for Best Picture, had a budget of $23 million.
Owners of the Bushnell token will also have a role to play in the movie itself, similarly to traditional share ownership. For instance, investors could be invited to vote on the movie trailer and some of the cast involved.
This project aims to tackle the traditionally obscure methods of film-financing. In the words of Overstock CEO Patrick M. Byrne, they wish to “bring much-needed transparency and accountability to an industry that has been historically resistant to change.”
Film financing has remained in the domain of institutional investors and big industry players due to the vast sums of money required to produce popular (and profitable) movies – 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” had an estimated budget of $321 million. Vincent Tse, CEO of Step Ventures, states that motion pictures are a “sought-after asset class among the large hedge funds and banks including Citibank, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and many others.”
These hedge funds engage in slate financing, whereby they invest in a portfolio of films rather than a single project. This guards against the risk of the film being a flop. A key benefit to hedge funds is the lack of correlation with other markets.
Mass media companies are also able to front the cost of their own films. Last year, the Walt Disney Studios, Disney’s film branch, had an operating income of just under $3 billion.
Vision Tree’s initiative for the Atari movie is the first time that blockchain will have been leveraged to finance a specific film.
Nonetheless, blockchain has already started to enter the film industry. In May, Hollywood producer Ryan Kavanaugh’s Proxima Media received a $100 million investment from Step Ventures and the Central Wealth Investment Fund of Hong Kong.
This investment was made towards Proxima’s token, “Proxicoin”, which uses the Ethereum blockchain. Similarly to the Bushnell token, Proxicoin comes with part-ownership of a Hollywood project. It will be listed and traded on the Fusang Exchange, a cryptocurrency exchange, thus opening film investment to individual and smaller investors.