The Hong Kong film mogul partnered with the founder and CEO of Hong Kong-based tech branding company Gusto Collective on the marquee sci-fi flick. Here, they tell us about the making of the film and the future of NFTs in entertainment
Warriors of Future is a film filled with superlatives. Six years in the making and produced at a cost of HK$450 million, it is a rare example of a sci-fi action flick in Hong Kong cinema.
It also marked the first time a Hong Kong film was launched alongside an NFT collection, which consists of 10,000 unique 3D soldier avatars with interchangeable armour; the holders of these NFTs can compete in a mobile game named after the movie. Released in Hong Kong cinemas on August 25, it raked in HK$47 million within the first two weeks of opening.
The driving force behind the project is award-winning actor and Hong Kong film industry veteran Louis Koo, who produces and stars in the movie. His production company, One Cool Group, produced and distributed the film. The firm worked with the Hong Kong-based tech branding company Gusto Collective, founded by Aaron Lau, to create the NFT collection.
The film is set in Hong Kong in 2055, an apocalyptic future where Earth has become a desolate wasteland due to climate change and pollution. Koo plays the commander-in-chief of the city’s military force, who has to defend the planet from Pandora, an alien body that causes destruction. It is directed by Ng Yuen-fai and also stars Sean Lau and Carina Lau.
Here, Koo and Lau tell Tatler about the vision behind Warriors of Future, its NFT campaign—and how a collaboration of this kind is the way forward in entertainment.
What’s the inspiration behind Warriors of Future?
Louis Koo (LK): Warriors of Future was created with a desire to challenge perceptions and influence more local talents to try new things in the field. The production of sci-fi movies often involves high investment costs and long production time, so it came as no surprise that this genre has long been absent from the local industry. As a long-time contributor to Hong Kong’s film industry, it’s important for me to take the first steps in supporting sci-fi movie productions.
Tell us more about the casting process.
LK: Casting is an essential part of the production process for any movie. This element is especially important for this project, because Warriors of Future represents many firsts—[including] my first time shooting a sci-fi movie.
Long before the script was written, I had my sights set on Sean Lau—he is a very good friend of mine and we had collaborated many times over the years.
Carina Lau is a perfect fit for the role of commander in the movie—she matches up to [her character] Tam Bing’s rigidity and strength. She excelled at capturing the character’s personalities and was able to deliver a memorable performance.
What were your most memorable moments from the making of the movie?
LK: From developing the script to reviewing the footage, the production process was an unforgettable experience, and I enjoyed every bit of it.
The part I liked the most has to be the scene where a robot was chasing me, while three more robots attacked our armoured vehicle. Apart from the actors’ facial expressions, everything on screen was produced by computer graphics.
This scene also includes a 360-degree shot of the armoured vehicle, which only lasted less than 50 seconds on screen, but took us 576 days to produce due to a lengthy rendering time. We did everything in-house. Despite limited resources, we managed to overcome the challenges and successfully launch the movie—thanks to great teamwork.
What’s the story behind the NFT collection released for this movie?
Aaron Lau (AL): The NFT collection we launched for Warriors of Future includes 10,000 unique 3D avatars as seen in the film. Unlike the pixel art favoured by millennials and gen Z in the metaverse, the avatars are meticulously created with 3D modelling for greater visual appeal.
After downloading the mobile game we created for the film, players will be able to use their NFT avatars in action and exchange traits with other people in real-time within the digital landscape. The game has been very well-received since its launch, and we are very proud of the team’s achievements on this ground-breaking project.
Can an NFT campaign help the movie reach a wider audience?
AL: The NFT campaign is a fun extension of the movie-watching experience in cinemas. With the launch of the mobile game, we wanted to create a space where fans can continue to show their support and enthusiasm for Warriors of Future, and get a taste of what it would be like if they were the protagonist of the story.
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What is the future of NFTs in entertainment?
AL: NFTs have an important role to play in facilitating the development of digital entertainment. NFTs will continue to give creatives opportunities to develop new ideas for better consumer engagement, such as loyalty programs, exclusive events and merchandise, as well as immersive content.
As for [NFTs in] the future development of the film industry, producers will be able to utilise NFTs to build a stronger, more active community. Movies will no longer be promoted as a one-off showcase, but more as an ongoing event that connects with the audience through new digital campaigns and virtual collectables, similar to how the Marvel franchise works.
What can we look forward to next from you?
LK: The successful completion of Warriors of Future has given us solid confidence in producing more innovative sci-fi movies in the future. Overall, it was a challenging project to take on because we spent a lot of time researching and creating the visual effects. We could have outsourced some of that, but we didn’t because we wanted to make sure the final outcome is great.
After the film’s release, we brainstormed some ideas for a new sci-fi movie, which will likely revolve around a war set in outer space. Stay tuned!
Warriors of Future is now showing in selected cinemas across Hong Kong