The announcement signals the resolution of a rights-holders lawsuit between Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast LLC and Sweetpea Entertainment, each of which will be involved in the project. What it does not signal: any sort of guarantee that a Dungeons & Dragons movie will actually get made.
Warner Bros. has had enormous success with the fantasy genre, through franchises like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings — but those were literary adaptations with rabid, built in followings and established characters. Dungeons & Dragons, first published in 1974, went on to become the world's most popular role-playing game — but the cultural relevance of real-world RPGs went into staggering decline with the rise of video- and massively multiplayer online games.
You might remember that they tried this back in 2000 with a weird, lame movie of a thing with Thora Birch, Jeremy Irons and Marlon Wayans. It only has 10 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and dragged in a scant $7.3 million on its opening weekend.
That won't detract from the enthusiasm.
Warner Bros. president of creative development and worldwide production Greg Silverman talked some marketing talk in the circulated press release.
"We are so excited about bringing the world of Dungeons & Dragons to life on the big screen. This is far and away the most well-known brand in fantasy, which is the genre that drives the most passionate film followings. D&D has endless creative possibilities, giving our filmmakers immense opportunities to delight and thrill both fans and moviegoers new to the property."
We should also not ever let you forget about the 1982 film Mazes and Monsters. Born out of the cultural panic that D&D would turn your children into murdering psychopaths, this gem stars Tom Hanks in his first leading role.
Oh, and it's available on YouTube if you have the inclination.
After the popularity of The Avengers in 2012, the floodgates have opened on big tent-pole Superhero Universes. To compete with Marvel/Disney, Sony is going ahead with a Spider-Man Universe, Fox has their X-Men starting to make solo films and Warner Brothers is teaming up with DC to bring every Justice League member they can find to the big screen.
Today we learned WB's exact line-up. With 10 confirmed movies from 2016-2020, they're shaping up to be Marvel's biggest competition.