Weed, Cats and NFTs: New Animated Series Combines All Three

A new NFT project, backed by some real star power, will have you burning green in more ways than one.

“Stoner Cats” is an upcoming series of animated shorts about, well, house cats high on marijuana. And it will only be available to those who drop some greenbacks on its unique, algorithmically-generated NFTs. 

The series is produced by That ‘70s Show star Mila Kunis’ Orchard Farm Productions, and features Kunis and her former co-star Ashton Kutcher in lead voice over roles. Ash Brannon, one of the show’s creators who hand-drew every frame of the pilot episode, also co-directed Toy Story 2. 

(Image: Stoner Cats)

But while “Stoner Cats” may not stray too far from what it sounds like plot-wise, production-wise, it’s breaking ground with an NFT-based access model. The upside is that fans will be able to support the creators directly. The downside is that the buy-in cost will be high enough to price out some would-be fans.

That Mint Price

On July 26, “Stoner Cats” NFTs will be available to mint for 0.35 ETH each — around $700 at current prices, and that doesn’t even include gas fees. Each of the 10,420 “Stoner Cats” NFTs will give token owners exclusive access to the episodes of “Stoner Cats,” as well as any future content released by Orchard Farm Productions.

The project even has a roadmap, like any typical crypto venture. The roadmap promises benefits for token holders at specific sales milestones. For instance, when 50% of the NFTs are sold, the company will release four new episodes of content to complete the show’s first season. And if the NFTs sell out, the company commits to the development of a second show. And in the project’s Discord channel, the creators have discussed, vaguely, ways to give Stoner Cat NFT holders additional value.

More Like a Kickstarter? 

Compared to recent popular NFT collectible projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club, which launched in May priced at .08 ETH ($270 at its time of launch), “Stoner Cats” mint price is hefty. At the same time, animation is expensive to produce, and with “Stoner Cats” functioning as access to the exclusive animated content, perhaps the entry price should be viewed more like a Kickstarter campaign. 

In April 2019, the Dungeons and Dragons-inspired web series Critical Role raised $11.3M through Kickstarter to fund their animated special, “The Legend of Vox Machina.” Pledge tiers ranged from $20 to $25K, with top-tier donor rewards including lunch with the team and a personalized portrait by the animation team. The final product, however, was viewable for anyone with an Amazon Prime Video membership, which costs $9 per month.

NFTs for the Big Screen

“Stoner Cats” aren’t the first NFT collectibles to double as exclusive access passes, though. In May, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk launched the VeeFriends NFT collectibles, which function as convention passes as well. 

And “Stoner Cats” isn’t even the only one in the adult animation space. In June, Fox Entertainment announced Dan Harmon’s upcoming “Krapopolis” as “the first-ever animated series curated entirely on the blockchain.”

(Image: Stoner Cats)

But “Stoner Cats” will have the distinction of being the first animated show to be exclusively accessible through NFTs, according to the project. 

Moreover, private funding of creative film projects through token sales seems to be an increasingly viable strategy, especially after the documentary “Ethereum: The Infinite Garden” raised 1,035 ETH—over $2M — this month on the blockchain crowdfunding protocol Mirror.

Ultimately, it’s hard to say whether locking viewership behind a $700 paywall will be a good move for the long-term success of “Stoner Cats.” Best case scenario, “Stoner Cats” could open the door for more independent animators to directly fund indie films.