Paramount and Hasbro eOne with the greatest of intentions have created an extremely fun, broad-audience appealing feature take on the classic roleplaying game, entitled Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, which already is 90% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes –not an easy feat with a genre movie of this caliber– and 94% with moviegoers.
Paramount blasted the movie appropriately so out of SXSW on its opening night to a great response, and they’ve screened the pic extensively including a partnership with Amazon in the walk-up to its opening. However, tracking hasn’t been kind to the $150M production, 50% co-financed by eOne, only seeing a $30M-$40M start stateside. The hope is that walk-up business off the hot word of mouth will overindex this movie at 3,850 theaters, which inherits all the premium theaters from Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 4.
The previous feature attempt with D&D didn’t go so well under New Line with a $7.2M domestic debut, $15.4M stateside result and near $34M WW, 23 years ago. That pic starred a number of fresh face actors and also included Jeremy Irons, Thora Birch and Marlon Wayans. This version of D&D touts Bridgerton‘s Rege-Jean Page, Chris Pine, Fast & Furious‘ Michelle Rodriguez, It‘s Sophia Lillis, Justice Smith and Hugh Grant.
The comp here for the John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein directed movie is Sony’s Uncharted, which opened to $44M domestic, and ultimately made $148.6M US/Canada and $401.7M worldwide off a $120M production cost. Sony declared a feature franchise off those results for the big screen take of that Sony Playstation game, and if Dungeons & Dragons can potentially emulate those results, well then, mission accomplished. Official previews in U.S. and Canada start Thursday at 3PM.
Abroad in 58 international markets this weekend, including the UK (distributed by eOne), Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Spain, Dungeons & Dragons is look at $25M+. At the high-end, it’s a hopeful $65M global start.
Italy goes Wednesday, while UK, Australia, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Spain go for Friday. China is also debuting day-and-date with domestic, on Friday. In majors still to come, France bows on April 12 while Brazil goes April 13. The pic’s advantage in an Easter weekend next weekend where Super Mario Bros will suck the oxygen out of the marketplace, is to be that one live-action second choice for fanboys.
In addition to Uncharted, Free Guy is another comp. We don’t have apples-to-apples comparisons as Uncharted opened early in 15 markets to $22M (unadjusted) before expanding the following session to 62 markets and a sophomore haul of $55.4M (also unadjusted). Overseas total for Uncharted was $253.1M. Recall that the movie benefited from the Tom Holland/Spider-Man: No Way Home halo. Free Guy debuted to $23M (unadjusted) in 41 markets which did not include Spain, while it saw nice leg-out at a time of concern over the Delta variant domestically and as offshore markets continued to see shifting Covid restrictions and/or closures. The movie ultimately got a big assist from China where it rang up a final of $95M.
As of today, let’s not bank on too much from China for D&D. The market has recently been mercurial to say the least toward Hollywood product. Presales are lackluster and there is competition from local titles as well as Japanese animated holdover Suzume. Meanwhile, Titanic is getting a 25th anniversary reissue there from Monday.
The BBC reported today that an estimated 50 million people have gone on a Dungeons & Dragons adventure since its inception nearly 50 years ago. Recently, the game has found new audiences.
The team has been out in force, with screenings in London, Paris and Berlin. There was also a presentation at San Diego Comic-Con back last July, and ComicCon in Sao Paolo back in December.
Elsewhere at the box office, Focus Features has this year’s Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner, A Thousand and One, in 926 locations. The movie reps A.V. Rockwell’s feature-length directorial debut and follows unapologetic and free-spirited Inez (Teyana Taylor), who kidnaps six-year-old Terry from the foster care system. Holding onto their secret and each other, mother and son set out to reclaim their sense of home, identity, and stability, in a rapidly changing New York City. The pic is 100% off 36 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
Meanwhile, last weekend’s champ, John Wick: Chapter 4, is expected to stay strong in weekend 2, -60%, for an estimated $30M. The Chad Stahelski-directed movie made an estimated $6.8M yesterday taking its U.S./Canada running total to $86.2M.