The makers of the upcoming Atari movie about the iconic video game console maker are eschewing traditional film financing models for a blockchain-powered initial coin offering (ICO), and plan to sell coins named after Atari founder Nolan Bushnell via a private pre-sale this spring. Film production and financing company Vision Tree plans to raise as much as $40 million with the sale of these Bushnell tokens.
“While the film has received offers from conventional and studio-sourced financing, we have elected cryptocurrency funding to accelerate the filmmaking path in a whole new way, offering Atari fans the opportunity to share in the creation of this movie with us,” producer J.D. Seraphine told Variety.
Owners of Bushnell tokens will get a share of the earnings of the movie, and they will also be able to vote on the trailer, and even help select cast members. “We wanted to enable Atari fans and gamers to co-own the project and the experience,” said Seraphine. “This open approach is also more in the DNA and the same spirit of Atari.”
This isn’t the first time that filmmakers are jumping onto the blockchain bandwagon. Earlier this week, Variety was first to report that the indie movie “No Postage Necessary” will use a blockchain-based app for promotion and distribution when it is being released this June.
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Seraphine told Variety that he has high hopes for the technology. “Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency financing will enable independent filmmakers and artists to not only create, but also own their projects that they can then grow over the span of their own career,” he said.
The Atari movie is currently in pre-production, and is being produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way as well as Vision Tree and Avery Productions. It’s being pitched as a biopic about Atari’s founder and his life story of starting out as a pinball machine repairman who went on to found one of the most iconic video game console brands.
Bushnell’s time at Atari recently came under scrutiny after allegations surfaced that he fostered a sexist culture at Atari. Bushnell was set to receive an award at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, but the conference rescinded the award in response to these allegations.
At the time, Bushnell applauded the conference’s decision and apologized for any past indiscretions. In a statement sent to Variety this week, Bushnell chose to instead paint a different picture of Atari:
“We created some extremely strong and capable professional women at Atari. Equal pay for equal work. Promoting women due to capability, and gender not being a promotional construct. We elevated women’s rights to the pinnacle of that time, and I’d do it all again just the same way.”