Most of us who grew up in the 80’s probably remember the Dungeons and Dragons phenomenon, and the complex books and rules that came with it.
It was certainly more challenging than trying to master the Rubik’s Cube, and it definitely was an acquired taste, although as we all remember it had a very obsessive following that got very lost in it.
So now Deadline tells us that Warner Brothers just acquired the rights to make a Dungeons and Dragons movie, and the screenplay is being penned by David Leslie Johnson, who also wrote Wrath of the Titans and Red Riding Hood. It’s not hard to discern why this has been put in motion. Game of Thrones comes to mind, and Warners has been looking for a new franchise now that Harry Potter and Batman have finished up.
Deadline confirms that Warners is “actually quite far along in the development of the project,” and while we don’t know how much of an audience Dungeons and Dragons has today, it is a very complex world that could potentially make a series of movies, like Lord of the Rings. Plus, with everybody being so reboot happy these days, there was also a Dungeons and Dragons movie from 2000 that went down the toilet, so now could be a good time to try and bring it back.
With The Hobbit movies set up at Warners, perhaps this could also be a way of branching off the success of the Tolkien series. The question is, however, is how much of a built in audience does D&D have today. The Lord of the Rings book had a big foundation that was there for the movie series arrived, and there’s also the question of how a board game will translate to the big screen. (We saw how Battleship turned out last summer…)
Again, we understand the logic behind this, especially with the fantasy genre being hotter than ever with Thrones. Similarly, HBO has taken a complex book series, and broken it down into a great series. And why put D&D for free on cable when people can pay for it at the theaters?
Warners wants more franchises set up for the future, which is why they have a lot riding on Man of Steel, which will hopefully lead into a Justice League movie. So can Dungeons and Dragons make a similar killing in the fantasy genre? Does it still have a fanbase that will come out to see the film, or is D&D so three decades ago to today’s audiences?
Like many movies announced in Hollywood, D&D is still “in development,” which means there’s no guarantee it will actually get made, so we’ll see if this particular potential franchise gamble actually pays off.