Royale With Cheese

Behind the NFT ‘Pulp Fiction


Big-name players are likely to come to blows over NFTs sooner rather than later, and often there's no clear contractual language to determine rights.
Earlier this month Quentin Tarantino announced a planned sale of NFT’s, or “non-fungible tokens,” based off of his original hand-written script of Pulp Fiction. Within days Miramax, the studio that produced the iconic 1994 film, filed suit. The NFT goldrush, which started in obscure corners of the Internet and then moved to sports and art, has now reached Hollywood with full force. Tarantino’s attempt to recruit NFTs to give Pulp Fiction a second life has, unsurprisingly, already commanded a lot of attention.


Like almost everyone else, it seems, directors are quickly joining the NFT game, with filmmakers like David Lynch and Wong Kar Wai turning their own movies into digital collectibles. Now, Quentin Tarantino is playing “ketchup”—and he’s revisiting his most famous film to do it.

This week, Tarantino took the stage at NFT.NYC, a week-long crypto-art conference in Times Square, to announce that he’s turning seven scenes from Pulp Fiction into “secret” non-fungible tokens. Each will feature digitized excerpts from the original handwritten script for the film, as well as snippets of audio commentary from the director himself.


The digital objects will reveal “secrets about the film and its creator,” according to Secret Network, the blockchain platform on which the NFTs will be minted. They’ll be auctioned off on the OpenSea NFT marketplace.

Dates for the sale of each NFT have not yet been announced, but at NFT.NYC, Tarantino said the first piece would be sold “in about a month.”

The director explained that he was introduced to NFTs a year and a half ago by fellow filmmaker Eli Roth. At the time, he couldn’t wrap his head around the concept. But, “the more I started to think about it,” he said, “the more I started to think, ‘This is a neat idea. This is really kind of cool.’”


 

“There’s no amount of money in the world that would [make me give up] my original script,” Tarantino went on, comparing the text to an original poem by Keats or a Matisse painting. “It’s not worth it to me to sell it, and it’s not worth it to me to put it in a museum and have it sit in a glass case. But doing it this way… I think it’s an exciting thing,” he said.

Tarantino was one of several notable names to take a stage at the second annual—and still ongoing—NFT.NYC event, joining a list of speakers that includes Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Reddit CEO Alexis Ohanian, and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. The conference, which features four day of IRL talks, workshops, and parties, has quickly emerged as one of the most important events on the calendar of crypto-art aficionados.

Quentin Tarantino is being sued by Miramax for copyright infringement after Tarantino announced he would be auctioning off a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFT) from his celebrated movie “Pulp Fiction” at the recent NFT NYC conference.

    The seven NFTs being sold are from different scenes that were cut from the final film, for which Miramax currently owns the rights.  While Tarantino owns the rights to publish the film’s screenplay, Miramax, the powerhouse entertainment company that produced and distributed the 1994 film, says the one-time NFT sale falls outside that categorization.
    The company sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tarantino to stop the sale, but the director has continued to push forward with his plans.
    Miramax attorney Bart Williams said in a statement that the studio has plans to “maximize” the film’s NFT rights “through a strategic, comprehensive approach.”
    The lawsuit is complicated by the fact the NFTs are “secret,” meaning the tokens are programmed so that only their owners can view the deleted scenes. The studio is suing the director over content that it hasn’t seen.