How Hollywood Is Making Sure the Metaverse Goes Beyond ‘This Moment in Time’ (Video)

Ted Schilowitz, a futurist with Paramount Global who is leading the studio’s pursuits into the metaverse, says there’s a lot of “head scratching” going on when you try and figure out why a company like Wal-Mart has felt the need to dive into the metaverse. But Schilowitz says for his and other companies across Hollywood, the point of dipping their toes into these virtual worlds now is about making sure they’re looking at the metaverse beyond just “this moment in time.”

“We don’t exactly know what’s going to happen here, but we want to make sure we have a place in the metaverse…it’s just better to be in the conversation than to be outside looking in,” Schilowitz told TheWrap as part of The Grill 2022. “If you don’t play the game, you’re almost guaranteed to lose the game.”

Schilowitz was joined on the panel “Hollywood’s Guide to the Metaverse,” and he spoke alongside Scott Zanghellini, SVP & head of revenue strategy & development with WWE and Todd Lichten, head of entertainment partnerships with Roblox. Together they chatted about how they’re defining what the metaverse is, what entertainment companies’ relationship should be to the technology and most importantly, how to make sure that the work being done today isn’t just a flash in the pan or the latest tech “gold rush.”

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“When something spikes up so fast and generates so much interest and so much discussion point and the associative strange economics of a superfast spike up, you tend to get a spike down just as quickly. As a company that’s been around longer than five minutes, we have to take a look at everything through a lens that isn’t just about this moment in time. You have to look at it as the relationship between technology and entertainment,” Schilowitz explained. “It’s important for us to know where the heat is and understand how it’s going to dissipate.”

For Lichten at Roblox, he works closely with entertainment partners similar to Paramount and other studios to help point to ways in which their platform can provide entry points and opportunities within the metaverse. Lichten explained that Roblox worked with MTV and the VMAs for an award celebrating the best performance in the metaverse that was hosted within the metaverse to Roblox users.

Others like Spin Master’s “Bakugan” animated series launched a battle component within the Roblox world in order to build anticipation for a Netflix series, but they saw such success that they were able to stream episodes of the show within the virtual space for viewers to have a completely different social experience with the show.

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But Lichten is also looking at ambitious, futuristic “sci-fi” possibilities down the road that go far beyond new ways to engage with audiences during awards shows.

“There’s a bunch of different ways in, and we’re obviously just scratching the surface, but as everyone has alluded to, everyone is really willing to experiment, and we’re happy to help,” Lichten said.

Zanghellini added that whatever path WWE takes, his organization too is taking a long term approach to the metaverse. Their priorities within the metaverse have involved gaming and utilizing their wrestlers’ IP as a means to further engage their audience and keep them coming back regularly. But they know that whatever they do, it has to be authentic and can never feel like just the latest flashy toy.

Zanghellini said, noting that a large majority of their followers identify as gamers. “As technology advances, Web3, metaverse, what are the offerings that we can give them, what can we experiment with there knowing we’re hitting the fan where they are?”

Watch the full video panel of “Hollywood’s Guide to the Metaverse” above.

About TheGrill

For over a decade, WrapPRO’s Grill event series has led the conversation on the convergence between entertainment, media and technology, bringing together newsmakers to debate the challenges and opportunities facing content in the digital age. Tailored to a C-suite and innovative, forward thinking  attendees, the event delivers a unique series of curated discussions, industry panels and virtual networking activations that explore the ever-changing media landscape. For more information about TheGrill visit

TheGrill 2022 sponsors include Loeb & Loeb, City National Bank, Gracenote, Warner Bros. Discovery, Gerber Kawasaki, Sony Pictures, Take-Two Interactive, SAG-AFTRA, New York Festivals, Samba TV and IMAX.

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