Mogul Productions Review: Can crypto revive film industry?
Like any medium, movies will always have a place in popular culture.
But there’s no denying that the combination of social distancing measures and the rise of streaming has dealt yet another hammer blow to movie theaters and the film industry.
Films will likely endure, but how and where we see them is already changing. Despite waiting a year and a half to release Black Widow in theaters, Disney released the film to Premiere Access Disney+ subscribers at the same time, making $60 million from streaming the film (that’s 27 percent of total proceeds).
As Box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Comscore told The Hollywood Reporter: “The marketplace is still a work in progress.”
Enter Mogul Productions, an ambitious startup launched in February 2021 (now with over 50k users) that aims to bring DeFi, or decentralized finance, and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to the film industry.
Mogul’s platform is a completely new take on making and funding films, as well as how filmmakers interact with fans.
The company has built a platform and cryptocurrency, based on Ethereum, called STARS, which acts as an in-app currency. The tokens can then be used to cast votes for scripts, which aspiring filmmakers can submit to Mogul for consideration by its audience. STARS holders also share in the profits of the films, by governing where 50 percent of the Mogul profits are spent within the decentralized eco-system.
The tokens can also be used to redeem rewards related to specific Mogul films, including tickets to exclusive screenings, NFT-based collectibles, and other ways of participating in the actual filmmaking process, like an Executive Producer credit for top spenders.
Mogul wants to “bring together creators, fans, & film financiers, allowing everyone to play a part in the next big blockbuster,” according to their website.
During our Mogul Productions review, we did a quick perusal of the Mogul app and found a slick design and a fun, relatively straightforward interface. The main draw of the platform is immediately clear: If you’re the kind of movie fan who thinks filmmakers need to hear your opinion, and you love anything crypto-related, then you’re likely the target audience.
What’s unclear is how much interaction fans will actually have with filmmakers and the degree to which Mogul can build a business model that challenges the conventional methods of funding movies.
What is clear is that Mogul’s leaders believe blockchain technology will democratize the industry, allowing nearly anyone to participate, at least to some extent. In a recent blog post, Mogul wrote about blockchain’s potential to change the film industry:
“You may want a particular movie to be made, but the large studios are generally only interested in pre-existing franchises…Thus, your dream of seeing that movie on the big screen is dashed…
With blockchain technology, however, it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to be rich to support the next great movie and earn a share of the revenue. You ultimately get to push a movie into production that you think has potential. That’s true whether you’re an actor, producer, financier, or movie fan.”
That idea will likely appeal to the thousands of lovers of popular culture raging on Twitter about the decisions of film studios, and offering their own opinions in the process.
Mogul has already begun production on its first film. As Bitcoin Warrior reported in an article titled “Cryptocurrency Gets Its First Film With Mogul Productions,” Mogul sees its users as “mini-producers” who not only cast votes on preferred movie scripts, but earn rewards if and when the movie is made — and actually succeeds.
Mogul’s first film, “Bonded,” written and directed by Mohit Ramchandani, is based on a true story, about a Mexican teenager who wants to be a soccer star, yet ultimately finds himself smuggled across the border and sold to a sweatshop making party dresses in downtown LA.
“This is obviously an incredibly exciting time to be announcing this milestone — Mogul’s first film financed via the Mogul model,” David Cormican, Production Advisory Officer at Mogul, said in the press release.
It will certainly be interesting to see how this project develops. Given the popularity and continued evolution of streaming, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Mogul develop over time as a unique opportunity in the expanding universe of streaming options.
Once “Bonded” is finished and released, Mogul users will have the opportunity to see it first via the Mogul app, granting VIP access to a movie not available anywhere else.
For movie lovers, that may be enough to guarantee that “Bonded” will not be the last film made by Mogul Productions.