D&D Movie/TV (Yet another) D&D Movie Speculation thread.

Pauln6

Adventurer
Which is why you can't go the other way either. The Left would be happy if you cast a black actor as Drizzt and emphasised the point that surface dwellers believed Drow where evil. But the Right would take up the cause that they "didn't look like an elf".You might just about get away with casting an Asian, but since Drizzt is a lousy character anyway, better to go with something else all together.
I doubt the left and the right give two craps about Dungeons and Dragons. Actors should be employed for their ability not their ethnicity (with obvious exceptions for historical figures). The issue that Hollywood still has to overcome is that the default does not have to be white and male. I wonder if they should go for something smaller, more like the Name of the Rose? A low level group brought together by a local guard captain to investigate a grisly death leading to a magical cult involving the nobility?
 

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I doubt the left and the right give two craps about Dungeons and Dragons.

They don't, or any movie. But they will jump on anything as an excuse to grind their respective political axes, without caring who is damaged in the fallout.

Actors should be employed for their ability not their ethnicity (with obvious exceptions for historical figures).

They should be, but never have been, and probably never will be. And that includes Historical figures (Liz Taylor as Cleopatra?!)

The issue that Hollywood still has to overcome is that the default does not have to be white and male. I wonder if they should go for something smaller, more like the Name of the Rose? A low level group brought together by a local guard captain to investigate a grisly death leading to a magical cult involving the nobility?

Sure, if you want your film to be shown in two dozen art house cinemas.

Better to go for TV if you take that path. You can already find that sort of thing on Amazon Prime.

There is no point in putting something on a big screen if it doesn't take advantage of the medium.
 

Pauln6

Adventurer
They don't, or any movie. But they will jump on anything as an excuse to grind their respective political axes, without caring who is damaged in the fallout. They should be, but never have been, and probably never will be. And that includes Historical figures (Liz Taylor as Cleopatra?!) Sure, if you want your film to be shown in two dozen art house cinemas.Better to go for TV if you take that path. You can already find that sort of thing on Amazon Prime.There is no point in putting something on a big screen if it doesn't take advantage of the medium.
I would have cited Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan or the Wall, where the main hero is Matt Damon. Chloe Bennett has also said that she was turned down for loads of work and bagged her first audition after changing her name to sound Caucasian. I'm not 100% convinced that it's necessary to go the whole evil wizard has an army route again. The finale could be great with a big bad monster. Maybe I'm just nostalgic for Ray Harryhausen movies, or even Raiders of the Lost Ark...
 
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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
You still haven't understood the real issue.

I understand it just fine, and that's a pretty aggressive and rude way to approach me by the way Paul after we were just talking.

Enevhar Aldarion said, "I cannot even think of a fantasy, non-horror movie that did have evil elves."

So I mentioned Hellboy and Thor did it, and you added specifically that it was Thor 2 and Hellboy 2, and that was the end of my point...I was just speaking to the portrayal of elves as evil in movies is in fact a thing with precedent. My further comment about Hollywood should just stick to albinos apparently was mostly just a sarcastic side note and had nothing to do with my thesis. I think it's kinda crappy to portray albinos as evil so often in Hollywood.

As for "understanding" the issue...I have not really commented on the issue for you to even be able to determine if I "understand" it. If it matters any, I happen to think Drow are kinda boring and should not be chosen purely because they're really not interesting enough to be the focus of the movie or even a meaningful part of it. With books and books and books of monsters and other nasties, to choose one which merely has different skin color from a main PC race seems a bad choice from an entertainment perspective. Go bold or go home - let's see some dragons and beholders and mind flayers and such!
 
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OB1

Jedi Master
You still haven't understood the real issue. The political climate has changed, even since Thor 2. Enough people know that drow are supposed to be black that you would be accused of "whitewashing" and thereby "denying jobs to black actors". Currently, there is absolutely no way to have drow and not have damaging controversy.

I'm not sure you understand the issue of whitewashing in films. Assuming that you don't have an axe to grind yourself, I'm going to attempt to help you with your ignorance on the subject.

Whitewashing isn't about the color of skin it's about ignoring the identity and experience of a culture.

Just because Drow have black skin does not make them African, African American, Indian or in any way connected to the experience and culture of Indians, African's and African Americans. So no, the left will not be "up in arms" if Drow are played by white actors and/or changed to no longer all have dark skin.

In fact, it would be far better to change the Drow to no longer have dark skin be the primary differentiator between them and other elves. Give them some other physical distinction and stop referring to them as Dark Elves, just let them be Drow or Evil elves. Really wish 5e had made this change from the beginning. Sure there would have been some uproar from a few grognards but it would have passed quickly and we could be past it now.

Back to the subject at hand, I think it's a good sign that McKay (Lego Batman) is attached to Direct the film, and I think it shows that the tone they are going for will be on the irreverent side of Guardians of the Galaxy or Deadpool rather than deadly serious ala Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, or Warcraft. It could be a good choice so long as they remember that what makes GotG and Deadpool work is that they love their subject matter and genre even as they don't take it too seriously. The film has to have a solid grounding in Adventure and Fantasy first, and be irreverent second.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Into the Spider-Verse got incredible reviews and will likely break even.

Just a note - it blew past break even and is very heavy into the profitable area right now. It had a reduced marketing budget, and is now at $213M worldwide with unusually light drop-off on a week-to-week basis.
 


Pauln6

Adventurer
Just a note - it blew past break even and is very heavy into the profitable area right now. It had a reduced marketing budget, and is now at $213M worldwide with unusually light drop-off on a week-to-week basis.
How did Warcraft do overall, it is probably the most comparable property to D&D?
 

They don't, or any movie. But they will jump on anything as an excuse to grind their respective political axes, without caring who is damaged in the fallout.
Let's not get political here. Anytime people bring up "the Left" or "the Right" is never a good sign for the health of a thread.

I would have cited Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan or the Wall, where the main hero is Matt Damon. Chloe Bennett has also said that she was turned down for loads of work and bagged her first audition after changing her name to sound Caucasian.
Or Gods of Egypt that had a predominantly white cast, even for the Egyptian gods. Or Exodus: Gods and Kings.

The Wall wasn't as bad, but came at the wrong time. There were a couple other examples that year, so it became "the third in the list". Really, The Wall is more an example of the white saviour, where a white dude has to come in and save the day. But, when watching the movie, that movie was much more of an ensemble piece with white and Chinese heroes. And it doesn't work as well without the outsider, as you need them to serve as the audience proxy when explaining the backstory.

Anyhoo, that's off topic.
I agree that you should cast actors based on their ability. And, as you say, with obvious exceptions for historical figures. Or real people and not just historical figures, because someone shouldn't have to be "historical" to be played by someone of the same ethnicity.

But there's the two other topics that smash into that. As OB1 says, there's whitewashing, where you give a part to a white actor rather than a minority or person of colour. Typically casting a white actor as a non-white historical figure.
This wouldn't necessarily apply here for the drow anymore than it would apply for Klingons in Star Trek. The make-up erases the ethnicity and doesn't match to a real person. Kruge wasn't a real historical person so it's not an issue to have him played by a white actor. And since the Klingons were effectively stand-ins for Russians in the political narrative, it very much was not whitewashing...

The bigger issue is blackface. Casting white actors and painting their face black. Which ties into a whole lot of minstrel culture and mocking of African Americans in theatres for the entertainment of whites, and in a modern sense also invokes cultural appropriation.
It's a messy thorny issue.
Now, you can cast white people as dark-skinned non-people. Again, see the Klingons for an example for how it can work without upsetting people. Because it's a very different culture and not associated with any minstrel tropes.

The third issue is casting black people as "the bad guy". This is the more problematic issue for the movie. Because fantasy tends to take place in a very whitewashed Eurocentric world. And thus the "good guys" tend to be Caucasian and the monstrous, savage villains tend to be dark skinned.
Dark as evil is a pretty old concept that doesn't really match to racism. Black being evil can be found worldwide. Light/ dark dualism is big in Zoroastrianism, which is from the Middle East region. Japan has the ying-yang. So presenting the bad guy as dark skinned (like the orcs in Lord of the Rings) isn't intentionally racist.
Buuut...
When when the 20% of North American audiences watch the film and don't see anyone that looks like them as a "good guy" and the only people remotely like them are "monstrous bad guys" that makes them uneasy. Even if they're a unnatural dark grey colour (like the orcs). It feeds into a problematic narrative. Like how the only Middle Eastern characters in action movies are terrorists.
Again, you can have the bad guys as dark skinned without a problem, if there are also people of colour on the side of the angels.
Going for the Star Trek hat trick, it doesn't matter if the Klingons are evil and dark skinned. Because the Enterprise has a diverse multiracial crew. Black people watching the show wouldn't see the Klingons and bad guys as the only people that looked like them.

I'm not 100% convinced that it's necessary to go the whole evil wizard has an army route again. The finale could be great with a big bad monster. Maybe I'm just nostalgic for Ray Harryhausen movies, or even Raiders of the Lost Ark...
The evil army works nicely because it allows an extended action sequence for the climax where the team of heroes all fight waves of mooks. A battle sequence with a group of people against one person requires a lot more coordination and choreographing.
But a big monster would be easier.

Really... the big bad of the movie needs to be a dragon. The D&D movie absolutely needs a dungeon and dragon. And having a pitched epic battle against a dragon would be fun.
 

How did Warcraft do overall, it is probably the most comparable property to D&D?
Warcraft:
https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=warcraft.htm

$160 million budget. So it needed to clear $320 million to be a "success". (As most films match the production budget in advertising money.)

It made $47 million in the States. Normally, you expect Western films to make 30-40% of its gross domestically. If Warcraft were an average film, that would translate to another $68 million internationally, for a total of $115 million. Or a bomb.

As it turned out, Warcraft was HUGE internationally. In part because World of Warcraft is still massive in China and other parts of SE Asia. So it made $386 million internationally for a total of $433 million.
So it turned a profit. But was not so much of a hit that it warranted a sequel. Especially as domestic performance is still the bar for success: Hollywood hasn't yet made a movie primarily for international release.

Expect a D&D movie to do comparable domestically but not as well oversees, where the brand has less name recognition.
 

Pauln6

Adventurer
Really... the big bad of the movie needs to be a dragon. The D&D movie absolutely needs a dungeon and dragon. And having a pitched epic battle against a dragon would be fun.
Yeah that's one of the reasons why I thought of the Age of Worms as a template. It starts off as an investigation into a cult, the Ebon Triad, at low levels, culminating in a fight with the gestalt avatar, then moves into an investigation up the food chain culminating in a fight with an undead monstrosity intended to kick off a zombie apocalypse, at mid levels, and then leads to quest for the phylactery of a dracolich, who is hoping to release his master from imprisonment, culminating in a multi-dragon finale, as there is also rivalry between the dracolich and a silver dragon.I take the point about going large in the first outing but I'm ambivalent. If you go too large, how do you top it? Plus I'm a fan of showing the characters level up after each instalment.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Warcraft:
https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=warcraft.htm

$160 million budget. So it needed to clear $320 million to be a "success". (As most films match the production budget in advertising money.)

It made $47 million in the States. Normally, you expect Western films to make 30-40% of its gross domestically. If Warcraft were an average film, that would translate to another $68 million internationally, for a total of $115 million. Or a bomb.

As it turned out, Warcraft was HUGE internationally. In part because World of Warcraft is still massive in China and other parts of SE Asia. So it made $386 million internationally for a total of $433 million.
So it turned a profit. But was not so much of a hit that it warranted a sequel. Especially as domestic performance is still the bar for success: Hollywood hasn't yet made a movie primarily for international release.

Expect a D&D movie to do comparable domestically but not as well oversees, where the brand has less name recognition.

We can at least expect a similar budget outlay, but success or failure at the box office is difficult to predict. The Warcraft movie obviously sucked based on advertisements, overwrought and campy. A D&D movie with funny ads, Dwayne Johnson (or equivalent) and maybe some fun pop music could easily be a different story. Might not, might do worse. It's a gamble, but that's how Hollywood do.
 



Sadras

Legend
One man's nightmare is another man's night on the town, I guess?

That is true, I mean it might become a great kids/family movie if they take the direction of your post, but as someone who is THIRSTY for a decent (my decent) fantasy movie, that description is soul-destroying.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
That is true, I mean it might become a great kids/family movie if they take the direction of your post, but as someone who is THIRSTY for a decent (my decent) fantasy movie, that description is soul-destroying.

Yeah, I really wouldn't hold my breath if I was you: fun entertaining toy commercial for the family is the goal for Hasbro here. It's doable, and they might pull it off, but they are going for the cinematic equivalent of Sword of Shannara, not the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.
 

guachi

Hero
Just a note - it blew past break even and is very heavy into the profitable area right now. It had a reduced marketing budget, and is now at $213M worldwide with unusually light drop-off on a week-to-week basis.

Indeed it did have very light drip off. The weekend estimates weren't in when I posted yesterday but it looks like it will do better in its third weekend than its second weekend.

It's a great movie so I'm glad it's doing so well.
 

guachi

Hero
How did Warcraft do overall, it is probably the most comparable property to D&D?

Jester David already posted some numbers but I'll add that it did about 1/2 of its total gross in China and studios don't get the same cut out of foreign gross as they do out of domestic. I doubt you can expect a D&D movie to get half its gross out of China.

It's going to be difficult for a D&D movie to do well outside the US unless they pick actors that people already find appealing. Luckily, D&D is perfect for casting any actor of any ethnicity in any role.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
It's going to be difficult for a D&D movie to do well outside the US unless they pick actors that people already find appealing. Luckily, D&D is perfect for casting any actor of any ethnicity in any role.

Embracing that fully:

Lucy Liu as a Norse Ranger/Barbarian type.
Idris Elba as the Halfling thief.
Wesley Snipes as the Monk
Vin Diesel as the Mage
Portia de Rossi as the Cleric
Jim Gaffigan as the Drow or Shadar-Ki Bard (depending on makeup budget)

(IMHO, all of those are negotiable except the casting of Gaffigan.)
 

Pauln6

Adventurer
Embracing that fully:Lucy Liu as a Norse Ranger/Barbarian type.Idris Elba as the Halfling thief.Wesley Snipes as the MonkVin Diesel as the Mage Portia de Rossi as the ClericJim Gaffigan as the Drow or Shadar-Ki Bard (depending on makeup budget)(IMHO, all of those are negotiable except the casting of Gaffigan.)
Iris Elba is too tall to be a halfling. Lucy Lui as a Barbarian though, yes please.
 

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