Dungeons and Dragons and Disputes: Movie Studios Battling Over Game

Who will win the rights to turn the cult-classic game into a movie?

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Earlier in the week, Deadline reported that Warner Bros. plans to follow in the games-to-movies trend with an upcoming adaptation of the fantasy role-playing-game Dungeons & Dragons—and now they’ve got word that there’s more to the story. Apparently, even though Warner Bros. has already gotten started on the project after acquiring the rights, Hasbro (the game company that owns D&D in a non-movie sense) says they’ve also started working with rival studio Universal on a cinematic adaptation of their own.

The tricky part is that producer Courtney Solomon, who is signed on for the Warner Bros. project, also produced and directed the 2000 Dungeons & Dragons movie—which was distributed by New Line Cinema, which is now part of Warner Bros.—and, according to one of Deadline‘s anonymous sources, Solomon still holds the rights needed to make the project happen.

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Well, that’s not the only tricky part. The other thing is that the 2000 version proved that just because a lot of people are passionate about the game doesn’t mean the movie will be a hit.

That film, which starred Jeremy Irons and Marlon Wayans, made only $33.8 million worldwide—short of the $45 million budget Box Office Mojo reports for the movie. And critics were no kinder than the box-office: Dungeons & Dragons scored a measly 10% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, where fewer than a third of audience members liked it.

Still, Warner Bros. and Universal, each betting that they can do one better, are clearly willing to roll the 12-sided dice on this one.

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