D&D Movie/TV I was surprised WotC didn't announce a movie-related product at Wizards Live -- unless they did ...

So, the Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves looks pretty good, all things considered. (Yes, yes, there are people who really want it to be a failure for some reason and it's going to be successful in what appears to be a very Guardians of the Galaxy fashion, but Guardians of the Galaxy made $772 million, so I think we can probably count that as some version of "success.")

Back in 2000, when a very different Dungeons & Dragons movie was on its way to theaters, Wizards of the Coast prepared some content about Izmir, the setting for that movie. Although it ultimately only appeared as Web freebies on the D&D website, there were hints that it might have originally been intended for some sort of hard copy product, before it was clear that the movie was a disaster.

But the Honor Among Thieves trailer, whatever you think of it, looks vastly less like a disaster than the 2000 trailer did.

So it seems likely that there's going to be at least some portion of the movie-going public that's going to walk out of multiplexes next spring and want to go home and play a D&D game.

But at Wizards Live, WotC didn't announce anything to grab those folks by the hand and say "right this way, folks," perhaps with the characters from the movie slathered all over it.

Unless they did.

Coming out some time before the end of the first quarter of 2023 is Keys to the Golden Vault, a book of short heist adventures that we, at the moment, know nothing else about.

What if it is the D&D movie tie-in?

Recent adventure anthologies have all had some sort of loose connective tissue, like Candlekeep or the Radiant Citadel, to link them all together as well as serve as a setting usable outside of that context.

What if the Golden Vault book is heists in and around Neverwinter, one of the places Honor Among Thieves is set, and features a gazetteer of the city? Movie-goers would be able to walk out of the movie theater and grab a book with the ridiculously handsome Chris Pine and Rege-Jean Page on the cover, featuring the sort of shenanigans that they get into in the movie.

"But Whiz," I hear you ask, "why wouldn't WotC just say so, then?"

Because they got burned badly in 2000 and are nervous and won't commit to it being a movie tie-in until the last possible moment. If the movie looks like a dog when they see a near-final cut in December, on goes the alternate cover and key pieces of art featuring the movie characters are swapped out, and the movie character NPCs get their names changed. Compared to a bunch of books they might have a hard time selling with the stink of a bad movie on them, paying for some alternate pieces of art and a few pages of alternate text is pretty cheap.

Now, they still don't have a starter set featuring the movie characters, but I wouldn't be surprised if they have an alternate version of Stormwreck Isle, with movie characters in the art instead of the cartoon characters -- neither of whom appear in the actual adventure of course, for reasons -- ready to go. Or, at worst, they're ready to slap a bunch of shiny stickers on their Stormwreck boxes, with a message like "See Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves in theaters, then BRING THE ADVENTURE HOME!"

Or maybe not. That's how I'd do it, anyway. (Call me if you want some of this grade-A marketing genius, WotC.)

In any case, adventure anthologies work for me, as do heists, so they've got a sale either way.
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Hey, long time no see!

I agree, the Golden Vault seems very well timed to key off of the movie (as it were). Since Chris Pine is a Harper in the film, maybe the book will be tied together by the Harpers.

It is worth noting that the cartoon characters are going to be in the movie, apparently, in the madhouse dungeon sequence we see bits of in the trailer.

Another point: the big Adventure book in the Summer is Phandelver...right by Neverwinter, so, that could tie into the film as well.
 

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
Interesting idea, but I don't see them ordering twice the art for a potential switch. More importantly, with the reality of printing and shipping timelines, they will need to finalize the content and layout of the book months before the film is out.
 

Interesting idea, but I don't see them ordering twice the art for a potential switch. More importantly, with the reality of printing and shipping timelines, they will need to finalize the content and layout of the book months before the film is out.
How much art would we be talking about? An alternate cover, which they do already (the new Dragonlance book is going to have three different covers, it seems), portraits of the NPCs, and maybe two or three shots in a full book that features the characters in an action scene.

Even the most expensive D&D artist is pretty cheap, especially if you take that money from the marketing budget for accounting reasons.

Few people will complain about a Neverwinter gazetteer and we already know that stuff as far back as Rime of the Frostmaiden is in the game because it was created for the movie. The Golden Vault could easily be a location created for it as well (heck, maybe that's where the MacGuffin they steal in the film comes from, originally).
 


They also didn't announce anything but books. We should except ancillary products like box sets, dice kits, DM screens to show up in shorter timeline announcements.
I hope that's true. If I worked in WotC marketing, or for the movie company (and I sure hope those two are working on cross-promotions), I would want to create a looping path between the movie theater and the game store and back.

As big as D&D has gotten in recent years, this is an opportunity for explosive growth, and WotC should take advantage of it. (Can they give a call to Scholastic about getting D&D books in Scholastic newsletter?)
 

Ibrandul

Adventurer
I'm sure you're right: this is the movie tie-in adventure book. Neverwinter is a really good guess, too.

I'm far less persuaded by the notion that they didn't say so because they're waiting until they see whether the movie looks good or bad.

It's Hasbro making the movie, not some other studio that licensed the rights. And Hasbro has big hopes to turn D&D into a big Marvel-style movie and TV franchise.

This means the movie would have to be really, really bad—I mean, 1-star-out-of-5 bad—in order for WotC to be permitted to cancel their planned promotions for it.

And the movie just isn't going to be that bad.

It might turn out to be 3-star bad. It might turn out to be 2-star bad.

But it won't be 1-star bad.

I'm sure there will be announcements of more movie-related products soon enough, though probably not more big hardcovers like we're used to seeing. And I bet they're saving those "movie tie-in" reveals for the full announcement of Keys. (Remember, every one of the five books they announced will have its own announcement video eventually—after Dragonlance's...)
 

Birmy

Adventurer
. The Golden Vault could easily be a location created for it as well (heck, maybe that's where the MacGuffin they steal in the film comes from, originally).

I think you may be on to something. Looking at the pre-order listing for the movie tie-in gelatinous cube toy from Hasbro, it's branded as being from the "Golden Archive." Not sure whether this is branding for the Hasbro D&D line of toys, a reference to the movie, or both, but it's a short leap from "Golden Archive" to "Golden Vault." (I wonder if the title of the book is intentionally obscured, purposely conflated, or they just thought it sounded better). It's certainly reasonable to think a March-releasing anthology book about heists on the Sword Coast, themed around locations/objects from the movie, might be the tie-in, even if it's just thematically and not directly. I'm skeptical about the notion of swapping art assets, but you've got me pretty well convinced this is for the movie-crowd looky-loos.
 


The trailer for the 2000 movie does not look that bad... compared to the whole movie...
and if you don't consider that LotR was not that far away...
I'm with you for the first half of the trailer -- and I'm more forgiving of Snails and Ridley than most -- but the second half of the trailer looks like a low budget video game, even for 2000.

And yeah, Peter Jackson and Weta were about to completely change the game after this.
 


Smackpixi

Adventurer
The movie is a $100 million plus bet. It’s going to need to succeed on its own merits, any tie-in RPG products will be pulled by the movie, not push it. To be successful they not only need everyone who plays D&D to go see it, but to bring 10 friends.

Sort of like the Guardians of the Galaxy movie it’s being compared to, that movie‘s revenue dwarfs the sales of the comics by orders of magnitudes.

D&D has more of a presence than Guardians did before the movie, but even if it’s the cultural presence of say Spider-Man before Sam Rami, it’s a huge leap from selling 100s of thousands of books per year to getting 40 million people to go see your movie.

A starter set tie-in would seem likely…and if the movie bombs, being unable to sell that warehouse full of toxic starter sets will be the least of their problems, so I don’t think they’ll be timid about it when the time comes.
 
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The movie is a $100 million plus bet. It’s going to need to succeed on its own merits, any tie-in RPG products will be pulled by the movie, not push it. To be successful they not only need everyone who plays D&D to go see it, but to bring 10 friends.

Sort of like the Guardians of the Galaxy movie it’s being compared to, that movie‘s revenue dwarfs the sales of the comics by orders of magnitudes.

D&D has more of a presence than Guardians did before the movie, but even if it’s the cultural presence of say Spider-Man before Sam Rami, it’s a huge leap from selling 100s of thousands of books per year to getting 40 million people to go see your movie.
The current player base is about fifty million
 



I expect a January D&D event that's movie and six months of product
"Here's our next two or three releases, plus a bunch of tie-in material" would be a pretty good stream.

Just so long as they go with more restrained folks like Ginny D and not streamers who spend all their time mugging for the camera and trying to promote their own brands, like the time before. I know WotC believes streamers are important, but they don't seem to exercise much discretion in who they bring on.
 


That’s their estimated number of people who have EVER played. But fair point, they need all active players to go see the movie and only bring 5 friends.
I think there will be plenty of people who've ever played who will go to the movie. The trailer looks good and, as was mentioned, a lot more people know of D&D than knew Guardians of the Galaxy, which had a (pre-pandemic) $94 million opening weekend.
 

Smackpixi

Adventurer
I think there will be plenty of people who've ever played who will go to the movie. The trailer looks good and, as was mentioned, a lot more people know of D&D than knew Guardians of the Galaxy, which had a (pre-pandemic) $94 million opening weekend.
Yeah but Guardians didn’t have to carry the burden of being a fantasy movie. LotR movies have blinded people to the fact that, generally, these things are box office poison. I wish them all the best but I think there’s a world in which the movie is both awesome and a failure. Or, what I suspect, a tepid success not embarrassing make back our money but don’t risk a sequel. Hope I’m wrong.

Back to your topic though, there‘s a Red Wizard in the trailer, I’d like some serious Thay is trying to break the world again tie-in adventure.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
As much as I think it would have been nice to have a book tie-in... I don't think the way that the game industry and movie industry do their businesses would allow for something that neatly tied up in a bow. Any game book WotC would write will have probably an 18 month journey from conception to release. Movies can have anywhere from like 6 months to 3 years of pre-production, production, and post-production to get it ready (especially effect-laden films)... and even upon completion a movie studio will slot the film into their schedule whenever they have space and whenever they think it should go. And WotC has no control over that.

Sure WotC could have tried to produce an Honor Among Thieves tie-in game to be released right around the film's release... whenever they thought the studio would put it into theaters... but what if the movie ended up testing poorly and the studio decided to bump it back in their schedule 6 months in order to do re-shoots? Would WotC be able to rearrange their production, printing, and distribution to match? Not likely. In that case what would probably have happened was that the Honor Among Thieves tie-in game book would get released-- going over a whole bunch of stuff in the game that no one knew it was referencing because there was no movie to connect it to-- and then 6 to 12 months later when the movie finally was released the game was already on the shelves and no one cared anymore.

In point of fact... I think WotC's better off waiting to see how Honor Among Thieves actually does in the theater before deciding to do a tie-in product. Because if the film does huge numbers... people will snatch up the game even if it gets released 6 to 12 months after the film's release. And WotC would have a much better idea after the fact of the public's desire for a game tie-in to make them feel good about spending the money and time to create one. That wouldn't be the case if they tried to do a simultaneous-ish release with the film upon initial release.
 

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