Now that Warner Brothers is done with the The Lord Of The Rings/The Hobbit trilogies and the future looks less certain for their planned Harry Potter franchise spinoff Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, Warners has been on the look out for a new fantasy franchise and they may have found it in one of the classics – Dungeons & Dragons.
The studio announced today that they will be producing a new film based on the classic role-playing game originally created by Gary Gygax back in the early 1970s.
The announcement comes following a drawn out legal dispute between Hasbro, the current publishers of the game, and Sweetpea Entertainment, producers of the particularly bad 2000 movie based on the game and it’s two direct-to-video sequels, over who currently owned the film rights. Deadline described the legal battle as a proxy fight between Warners and Universal.
Having struck a $4 million rights deal with Sweetpea before the trial, WB was paying the production company’s legal costs too. No details were made public on the settlement but being that Sweetpea are playing a producer role and the project is at WB, it seems that [Sweetpea founder Courtney] Solomon came out on top. It also seems that Universal’s supposed deal with Hasbro for a D&D pic was been shelved.
Those who have seen the original 2000 film, directed by Solomon, are probably wondering why there was a big legal fuss over the property. The movie has a reputation for being fairly awful, a reputation bolstered by Jeremy Irons over-the-top hammy performance and whatever it was that Marlon Wayans was doing.
But the possibilities for a Dungeons & Dragons movie are as limitless as the possibilities for Dungeons & Dragons game play itself. David Leslie Johnson (The Conjuring 2, Wrath of the Titans) screenwriter has already turned in a script to the studio. It will be interesting to see if Dungeons & Dragons turns out to be a critical hit or if it will roll a one for an automatic fail.