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It was about 15 years ago that Hollywood first tried to turn the famed role playing game Dungeons and Dragons into a movie. That attempt wound up being a total failure, but evidently that's not stopping the industry from once again going down that path.
A story from The Hollywood Reporter has revealed Warner Bros., Hasbro and Sweetpea Entertainment have negotiated a deal that will soon see the development of a brand new Dungeons and Dragons movie that will be produced by The LEGO Movie's Roy Lee. While it seems that the project is still very much in the early days. a script is already being written by screenwriters David Leslie Johnson (Red Riding Hood, Wrath of the Titans), and there is a plan in place to set the movie in the game's campaign setting known as Forgotten Realms.
This isn't the first time in the last few years that Warner Bros. has pursued the idea of making a new Dungeons and Dragons film - though the last time they tried it the whole situation wound up going to court. The studio tried to commission a screenplay based on the game a few years ago, but at that point hadn't managed to attain the rights to the property. This wound up creating a conflict between WB, Hasbro (the owners of the game), Universal Pictures (which had a deal in place with Hasbro), and Sweatpea Entertainment (the producers of the first Dungeons and Dragons theatrical film). The situation eventually went to court, and it was only today that an undisclosed arrangement was made to end the lawsuit that was filed.
Thanks to the legal developments, Warner Bros. can now continue pursuing the making of a new Dungeons and Dragons movie without court interference - but there is a key question hanging in the air regarding whether or not they actually should. Directed by Courtney Solomon (Getaway), the 2000 movie starring the likes f Jeremy Irons, Marlon Wayans, and Thora Birch was not only completely eviscerated by critics - who called it ugly, cheap, and full of bad performances - but it was also a total flop (the $45 million-budgeted movie eventually making only $33 million at the global box office). This isn't to say that a talented filmmaker couldn't somehow turn the property into something interesting, but there doesn't exactly appear to be much enthusiasm or demand to see it be done.
It seems that Warner Bros. is still planning to use the David Leslie Johnson script from four years ago - which carried the title Chainmail (whether or not that title will stick around is unknown). Because the screenplay has been around for so long, it's possible that it could mean the project winding up on the development fast track. We'll keep you updated with the latest news about the project.