Despite arguably becoming more popular over the last decade than it’s ever been, Hollywood had struggled for years to try and cobble together a live-action Dungeons & Dragons project. A lot of that might have had to do with the fact that the last time it happened, the end result was the disastrous 2000 effort starring Justin Whalin, Marlon Wayans and Jeremy Irons.
The $45 million blockbuster tanked at the box office and was savaged by critics, with fans of the source material also unanimously rejecting it, although two direct to video sequels followed nonetheless in 2005 and 2012. Of course, a new take has been stuck in development hell for years, with the likes of noted D&D enthusiast Joe Manganiello, The LEGO Movie‘s Chris McKay and Goosebumps‘ Rob Letterman all trying to get it off the ground to no avail.
However, Dungeons & Dragons is back on the table in a big way now, with Chris Pine set to lead a blockbuster movie under Game Night duo Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley for Paramount, while John Wick writer Derek Kolstad has been hired to develop a live-action TV show, although there isn’t much in the way of further details available at the moment.
Hasbro and their recently acquired feature film division Entertainment One are clearly banking on Dungeons & Dragons to spawn a huge multimedia franchise, though, similar to the way they tasked Jonathan Entwistle to oversee an entire Power Rangers cinematic universe. And with the property riding a wave of popularity, now’s the ideal time to strike when the iron is hot and see if it proves popular enough with more casual audiences that may have never even heard of the game, never mind played it before.