D&D Movie/TV Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves could change D&D forever

Xyxox

Hero
I dunno how much effect movies has on the popularity of RPGs. Otherwise Star Wars and Marvel games would be much bigger than they are.
I think the real deal here is whether this will help monetize D&D more or not. If it does really well at the box office, it opens up merchandise lines well outside of the standard TTRPG fare and can increase the monetization majorly.
 

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Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
I think the real deal here is whether this will help monetize D&D more or not. If it does really well at the box office, it opens up merchandise lines well outside of the standard TTRPG fare and can increase the monetization majorly.
Yeah, at the end of the day, this is supposed to be a virtuous cycle where a good movie drives game sales, which expands awareness and enthusiasm for the brand, which means more butts in seats for the next movie.
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
I will say that the first Fast and Furious movie was made at a time when Hollywood wasn't so hostile towards making a script that wasn't based on anything already existing. 2001 doesn't feel like it was that long ago, but in terms of how the film landscape has shifted it might as well be 50 years ago.

Actually part of the problem is they don't make movies like Fast and Furious anymore at all. A mid budget action movie - heck mid budget movies of any kind - that isn't some star actor or producer or director's pet project just isn't getting made. It's either small indie movie or big budget action, not much in between. The mid budget is for direct to streaming now I guess.
It's the economics. People stopped going to theaters for stuff like that, when they could comfortably watch HDTV at home. So the theater stopped carrying them, people stopped making them. Happened about 10-12 years ago: Marvel was working on a mid-budget theatrical version of the Runaways around the time the Abengers Assembled, but ran the numbers and figured out it wouldn't make financial sense.
 

Xyxox

Hero
Yeah, at the end of the day, this is supposed to be a virtuous cycle where a good movie drives game sales, which expands awareness and enthusiasm for the brand, which means more butts in seats for the next movie.
Not just that, action figures of the movies characters, playsets, all sorts of merchandising outside the normal realm of TTRPGs but right in the center of Hasbro's core competencies. A blockbuster movie's toy line alone could outdo revenue and profits from D&D gaming products for the year all by itself!
 

delericho

Legend
D&D is mostly a game about people's own original characters, and largely about original worlds. Yes, there are the published campaign settings, with their own settings and own worlds. . .but we haven't seen any sign of them doing a Drizzt Do'Urden or Elminster movie, or a Rudolph Van Richten movie, or movies based on famous D&D adventures like Tomb of Horrors, Throne of Bloodstone, or Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.
One of the other problems there is that literally everything you've just mentioned is decades old, and much of it really hasn't aged well. And both Drizzt and Elminster have their issues with cultural sensitivity.
 

One of the other problems there is that literally everything you've just mentioned is decades old, and much of it really hasn't aged well. And both Drizzt and Elminster have their issues with cultural sensitivity.

Which is, of course, why the Lord of the Rings movies absolutely flopped at the box office. . .those novels were almost five decades old by the time the films were released and many critics called the books racist.
 

delericho

Legend
Which is, of course, why the Lord of the Rings movies absolutely flopped at the box office. . .those novels were almost five decades old by the time the films were released and many critics called the books racist.
"Lord of the Rings" was picked up and read by successive generations of readers, and is routinely voted as the best novel of all time (rivaled only by "Pride and Prejudice"). It has a massive ongoing cultural imprint. (Much like D&D as a whole, in fact.)

When was the last time Elminster even appeared in a starring role? And amongst current D&D players, what percentage could even tell you what "Throne of Bloodstone" or the Barrier Peaks even are, never mind having visited them?

Drizzt has rather more traction, but even he seems to be markedly diminished since the mess that was the Sundering.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Not everything ages equally. Some stuff, like Lord of the Rings or Pride & Prejudice, ages like fine wine. Other stuff ages like dry bread. Other stuff is somewhere in between.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Seems clear to me. Any fantasy film not fimed in NZ won't do well!! (Ducks).

I had big doubts to the D&D movies success before the OGL debacle. Generic fantasy movie with generic past use by date actor who wasn't a high draw to begin with and a March release date.

Star Wars RPG hasn't really been done well in recent decades and hasn't has that continuity D&D has. Three very different games with another 5 "editions".

D&D doesn't really have any quality stand out characters anymore and Drizzt is long past his use by date.
 

When was the last time Elminster even appeared in a starring role? And amongst current D&D players, what percentage could even tell you what "Throne of Bloodstone" or the Barrier Peaks even are, never mind having visited them?
Which is why, of course, Marvel started the Marvel Cinematic Universe with widely known, universally beloved longtime pop culture icon Iron Man. . .and when people went to see Infinity War and Endgame, they all knew Thanos so well from his many prior comic book appearances the audience knew so closely and were so familiar with.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
Which is why, of course, Marvel started the Marvel Cinematic Universe with widely known, universally beloved longtime pop culture icon Iron Man. . .and when people went to see Infinity War and Endgame, they all knew Thanos so well from his many prior comic book appearances the audience knew so closely and were so familiar with.
Marvel didn't have the option to use the X-Men, Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four.

And by the time they introduced Thanos, the audience was along for the ride.

Elminster is no Wolverine or Spider-Man. He's not even Doctor Strange.

"OK, so imagine a really horny Gandalf. No wait, come back! OK, forget Elminster. Imagine an underground city full of elves. Evil elves. They're super into spiders and demons and they're ruled by women who all behave like Penthouse Forum dominatrixes. No, it's not what you think: There's a heroic drow, but he's a man, fighting against the dark-skinned matriarchy and the oppressive rule of wo-- . Why am I being escorted out of your office? Will you still validate my parking?"

Starting fresh is the way to go.
 

At this point, looking at all the cinematic universes that have been DOA or muddled along in tepid waters, I begin to suspect that the MCU is an exception to the rule.

On the converse, Universal threw the Wolfman, Dracula, The Mummy (with a side of Dr. Jekyll), and the Invisible Man at audiences and the Dark Universe still sputtered out. And those characters are pop culture giants that have been entertaining people for over-or-under a century depending.

Which is why, of course, Marvel started the Marvel Cinematic Universe with widely known, universally beloved longtime pop culture icon Iron Man. . .and when people went to see Infinity War and Endgame, they all knew Thanos so well from his many prior comic book appearances the audience knew so closely and were so familiar with.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
On the converse, Universal threw the Wolfman, Dracula, The Mummy (with a side of Dr. Jekyll), and the Invisible Man at audiences and the Dark Universe still sputtered out. And those characters are pop culture giants that have been entertaining people for over-or-under a century depending.
I dunno. I think contemporary audiences don't have any idea who anyone other than Dracula and maybe Dr. Jekyll are. Look at how many articles had to explain who Renfield was when that trailer came out recently.

If anything, I think the Dark Universe is a great example of not going with a franchise that someone loved as a kid, without realizing that today's young people don't have any warm and fuzzy feelings toward it. See also Alan Quartermain, the Phantom, pretty much every Tarzan movie in color, John Carter, etc.

The fact that you have the rights to something and loved it 40 or more years ago, does not mean that'll translate into market success.

This will pain a lot of people posting on this site, but you have a better chance of seeing a Herobrine movie be a giant commercial success than you do a new Wolfman or Drizz't movie.

(Everyone just back from Google: I know, it seems crazy, but Herobrine is 100% a well-known character amongst the young folks, many of whom grew up believing a ton of urban legends around him. But unlike Slender Man, Hollywood hasn't put out any half-assed movies with him yet.)
 



Jer

Legend
Supporter
At this point, looking at all the cinematic universes that have been DOA or muddled along in tepid waters, I begin to suspect that the MCU is an exception to the rule.
The thing is that the first movie that Marvel made as part of their cinematic universe - Iron Man - was built to be a good action movie first and foremost. It's a completely standalone movie except for a few teases towards things that comics fans knew were a thing (like SHIELD) and a post-credits scene that teased the fans.

Almost every other attempt at aping what Marvel did refuses to actually try doing what Marvel did. Which is put out a good action movie that stands by itself before trying to build a whole universe.

On the converse, Universal threw the Wolfman, Dracula, The Mummy (with a side of Dr. Jekyll), and the Invisible Man at audiences and the Dark Universe still sputtered out. And those characters are pop culture giants that have been entertaining people for over-or-under a century depending.
Case in point. The problem with Universal's "Dark Universe" plan is that they haven't been able to put out a good movie using these properties since the Mummy reboot back in the 90s. That's the actual key - figure out a good way to use these characters and then build from that. But don't pre-announce that you're building a universe when you haven't made a single good movie yet, and definitely don't hobble your movie by forcing it to introduce your "cinematic universe" when it should be telling a good story.
 

Haplo781

Legend
Marvel didn't have the option to use the X-Men, Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four.

And by the time they introduced Thanos, the audience was along for the ride.

Elminster is no Wolverine or Spider-Man. He's not even Doctor Strange.

"OK, so imagine a really horny Gandalf. No wait, come back! OK, forget Elminster. Imagine an underground city full of elves. Evil elves. They're super into spiders and demons and they're ruled by women who all behave like Penthouse Forum dominatrixes. No, it's not what you think: There's a heroic drow, but he's a man, fighting against the dark-skinned matriarchy and the oppressive rule of wo-- . Why am I being escorted out of your office? Will you still validate my parking?"

Starting fresh is the way to go.
Now I'm really looking forward to the Pitch Meeting video.
 

Yeah, there are a lot of parallels between Dracula and ERB. Without those, current pop culture giants like Twilight, Star Wars, would be very different, or perhaps not even exist at all. But even if everyone knows what a Dracula is, it remains to be seen if people will show up for Renfield.

I dunno. I think contemporary audiences don't have any idea who anyone other than Dracula and maybe Dr. Jekyll are. Look at how many articles had to explain who Renfield was when that trailer came out recently.

If anything, I think the Dark Universe is a great example of not going with a franchise that someone loved as a kid, without realizing that today's young people don't have any warm and fuzzy feelings toward it. See also Alan Quartermain, the Phantom, pretty much every Tarzan movie in color, John Carter, etc.

The fact that you have the rights to something and loved it 40 or more years ago, does not mean that'll translate into market success.

This will pain a lot of people posting on this site, but you have a better chance of seeing a Herobrine movie be a giant commercial success than you do a new Wolfman or Drizz't movie.

(Everyone just back from Google: I know, it seems crazy, but Herobrine is 100% a well-known character amongst the young folks, many of whom grew up believing a ton of urban legends around him. But unlike Slender Man, Hollywood hasn't put out any half-assed movies with him yet.)

Treading water is apt, as they seem to be taking their time in attempting something as massive as the previous Infinity Stone arc. While I can understand not wanting to dive into something so ambitious again, it does leave the movies feeling a little rudderless. But then again, even their "middling" performers can boast numbers the likes of which other studios would kill for. And Wakanda Forever is up for six Oscars now.

Even the MCU seems to be treading water - looks like Stark may have snapped the life out of it along with Thanos.

That is the trick - getting the first movie right, and able to stand on its own. And that has eluded so many studios because they've chased the franchise at the expense of laying solid groundwork.

The thing is that the first movie that Marvel made as part of their cinematic universe - Iron Man - was built to be a good action movie first and foremost. It's a completely standalone movie except for a few teases towards things that comics fans knew were a thing (like SHIELD) and a post-credits scene that teased the fans.

Almost every other attempt at aping what Marvel did refuses to actually try doing what Marvel did. Which is put out a good action movie that stands by itself before trying to build a whole universe.


Case in point. The problem with Universal's "Dark Universe" plan is that they haven't been able to put out a good movie using these properties since the Mummy reboot back in the 90s. That's the actual key - figure out a good way to use these characters and then build from that. But don't pre-announce that you're building a universe when you haven't made a single good movie yet, and definitely don't hobble your movie by forcing it to introduce your "cinematic universe" when it should be telling a good story.
 

Haplo781

Legend
Yeah, there are a lot of parallels between Dracula and ERB. Without those, current pop culture giants like Twilight, Star Wars, would be very different, or perhaps not even exist at all. But even if everyone knows what a Dracula is, it remains to be seen if people will show up for Renfield.



Treading water is apt, as they seem to be taking their time in attempting something as massive as the previous Infinity Stone arc. While I can understand not wanting to dive into something so ambitious again, it does leave the movies feeling a little rudderless. But then again, even their "middling" performers can boast numbers the likes of which other studios would kill for. And Wakanda Forever is up for six Oscars now.



That is the trick - getting the first movie right, and able to stand on its own. And that has eluded so many studios because they've chased the franchise at the expense of laying solid groundwork.
Get a Kevin Feige level talent and you can make just about any franchise work.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
One of the other problems there is that literally everything you've just mentioned is decades old, and much of it really hasn't aged well. And both Drizzt and Elminster have their issues with cultural sensitivity.
Elminster? Don't want to derail but can you PM me or just post a link? My Google-Fu is failing me.
 

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