RPG Evolution: What If the D&D Movie is a Hit?

Like, a really big success?

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The Big Bet​

It's become clear that the Dungeons & Dragons brand has transformed in the eyes of Hasbro from a product that didn't merit much attention to a tentpole merchandising machine that's a lynchpin of Hasbro's brand playbook.

I've covered the battle over the movie's rights elsewhere in detail, but what's most relevant to this discussion is that somewhere along the line, it was decided the movie property was much more valuable than it had been in the past. Valuable enough to go to court over it.

Hasbro's always wanted to mimic Disney's success with Marvel's intellectual properties. Given that Hasbro was particularly concerned about Disney using the Open Game License, it seems the game company feels they're going to be successful enough in the brand space to be a competitor.

All this adds up to Hasbro betting big on the movie and treating it like it will be a success, well before the movie is even released. But what makes a film successful?

The Right Ingredients​

According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science:
Star power, acting expertise, rousing reviews and public ratings are all key factors that influence our decision to see a movie. Researchers from UTS, HEC Montreal and the University of Cambridge compared these factors across 150 studies to boil down the formula for box office success.
The D&D movie's star power is certainly higher than any other D&D-themed movie released to date. It will feature Chris Pine as bard Edgin davis (Wonder Woman) and Michelle Rodriguez as barbarian Holga (F9) in the lead roles. Justice Smith (Detective Pikachu) as sorcerer Simon, Regé-Jean Page (Bridgerton, The Grey Man) as paladin Xenk, Hugh Grant (Paddington 2) as rogue Forge, and Sophia Lillis (IT) as druid Doric. Additionally, Chloe Coleman (Big Little Lies), Jason Wong (Strangers), and Daisy Head (Shadow and Bone). Test screenings have been positive too:
...the thing that we learned the most from our test screenings was that it really appealed, not just to D&D fans, [but] people that had no idea what they were watching when they were going into the test screening actually were engaged, and they didn't think that they would be because it's a D&D movie, and it's got us not necessarily a stigma, but it has a lot of baggage attached to it in terms of what people expect out of it. I think that was like a pleasant surprise for a lot of people.
The D&D movie was advertised during the Super Bowl, which is another data point indicating the company's confidence in the movie. An average 30-second Super Bowl ad costs 7 million dollars. The movie itself $151 million (UPDATED, thank you for pointing this out!), with Chris Pine's salary pegged at $11.5 million.

Of course, reviews and public ratings will be determined after the box often returns are tallied.

And If It Does Well...​

After box office returns come in, the most immediate sign of the movie's success will be how much it earns. Estimates range between $100 to $120 million.

If the film clears the bar of making more money than it cost to produce and market, the outcomes will be familiar: sequels, spinoffs, and merchandising. That merchandising can take a lot of forms, from pencils to bookmarks, socks to blankets. D&D's already in these spaces, so it won't be a big stretch to brand specific creatures or characters from the film.

Of relevance to tabletop gamers is if any of this attention will result in more players. Hasbro seems to be following the Disney playbook, which means there isn't much cross-branding between the movies and the books that spawned them. While there are signs D&D tabletop gaming will reference the movie, it seems to be a one way street. Contrast this with DC's new strategy, in which they advertised the Flash comics that inspired the movie at the end of its Super Bowl spot.

The good news is even without specific tie-ins, D&D will likely get a boost. We can use the sometimes fraught relationship between Marvel movies and Marvel comics to understand if brand awareness drives readership. According to ComicBookHerald, we can expect anywhere from a 4.5x to 6x increase in sales of D&D-related books:
During non peak seasons (defined here as the first 14 days following a tentpole movie, or the month-long duration of WandaVision hype), the average views for the ‘Where to Start’ guide were 245 per day. During peak seasons, that total jumps to 1096 per day on average, a near 4.5x jump. And if we’re just looking at the Avengers movies, the average is closer to 1500 per day, a 6.1x increase.

Buckle Up!​

Between the legal wrangling, financial investment, and advertising dollars at stake, there's a lot riding on the D&D movie. The brand is about to be introduced to folks who have never played D&D but likely heard of it (thanks to streaming and Stranger Things) in a very big way.

One thing is clear: if the film is a blockbuster hit, D&D fandom will no longer consist of D&D players alone. Here's hoping we can welcome them to the hobby.
 
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca

I have myself used the google translator:

civilization
ancient civilization
ancient lands
old countries
ancient ruins
ancient

and these are translated:

alhadara
alhadarat alqadima
al'aradi alqadima
alduwal alqadima
alathar alqadima
eatiq.

Then I can guess al-Qadim means "ancient".

---

An AAA videogame needs a lot of time. If there is soon a new D&D videogame, this will be for mobiles or consoles.

I would be surprised if Hasbro hasn't dreamed with their own collectable monster game style digimon or pokemon. Maybe they are going to create more magic items style "bakugan" or the dicelings, a sphere or orb what transform into a monster.

In the next D&D movie should appear a psionic mystic, or an ardent. I love the concept of psionic ardents as frenemies of clerics and other divine spellcasters, you know, a love-hate relation.

It just means The Old, so its a really old civilization, with a long history.

Either way Disney's going to complain about Al Qadim being used. They did not trade mark Arabic. Disney uses the term for nothing. There big Arabic setting for Disney is a Aladdin, which anyone one can use as that is from 1001 nights, not trade markable, although the exact appearance of the character is.

And Jasmine can be trademarked (character not the flower), as she replaces a character from the OG predisney version who I believe was a Chinese Princess.
 

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R_J_K75

Legend
I just checked for pre-screening tickets for the one AMC Theater in my area showing it this Sunday and there was only one seat in the entire theater left.

If any Amazon Prime members interested this is how I found out about it.

 


R_J_K75

Legend
Amazon Prime e-mailed about it. Unfortunately, my time this Sunday is taken. So I will see it when it hits the regular release date :(
In my area there is a March 26th sneak peek at 2PM at Regal cinemas. I would imagine its the same in your area if theres Regal cinemas
 


It just means The Old, so its a really old civilization, with a long history.

Either way Disney's going to complain about Al Qadim being used. They did not trade mark Arabic. Disney uses the term for nothing. There big Arabic setting for Disney is a Aladdin, which anyone one can use as that is from 1001 nights, not trade markable, although the exact appearance of the character is.

And Jasmine can be trademarked (character not the flower), as she replaces a character from the OG predisney version who I believe was a Chinese Princess.
The original middle-eastern folk tale about Aladdin is said to be set in China, but "China" in this context seems to represent "a land far far away" rather than historical China, as all the characters have Arabic names, and the story is full of Arabic cultural trappings and not much that reminds of China. This is why pretty much every adaptation of the story is placed in Arabia, as that's really the only place it fits without a substantintal rework.

The princess in the earliest recorded version is named Badr al-Badur, which I'm sure is a lovely name in Arabic but perhaps not as appealing to English speakers.
 

I wouldn't be surprised if we see a future sourcebook with the title "1001 nights".

Maybe you are totally right and Disney's CEOs to be wrong, but this doesn't mean they didn't dare to try it. Those titles sound too similar and they could cause confusion. Enough reason for a lawsuit.

* If this is the "birth" of the DDCU (D&D Cinematographic Universe) then we could face a potential conflict about the continuity. For example the powers of the displacer beast.

* Could a Disney-Paramount co-production be possible? I doubt they can agree easily about the royalties for the merchandising products.

* Maybe they are going to produce something for youtube.

* If we are going to see a LEGO D&D..... why not also a playmobil D&D?
 

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