As Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves co-director Jonathan Goldstein put it, “nobody had done [an film adaptation of the game] justice.” But Friday night when it came to the newest big-screen take, Goldstein, his co-director John Francis Daley, Paramount, eOne did as the movie received a rock-concert reception on the opening night of SXSW.
When it comes to the fantasy genre that includes Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, Goldstein, “there’s not a lot of laughs and there’s not a lot of fun, and that’s what we hoped we did with this film.”
The filmmakers arrived at Austin’s Paramount Theatre with the main cast, sans Hugh Grant, including Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Sophia Lillis, Justice Smith and Daisy Head.
Paramount has had great luck down here at SXSW with 2018’s A Quiet Place, which went on to open to $50.2 million at the box office after its SXSW premiere (it finished at $188M domestic, and near $341M worldwide), as well as last year’s Sandra Bullock-Channing Tatum movie The Lost City, which was part of the reignition of the adult audience at movie theaters post-Covid. It debuting to $30.4M, and made over $105M domestic, and $193M worldwide.
As one fan at the mic put it tonight after the roller-coaster-ride movie, “I was left in tears in the end.”
Daley, who got into the role-playing game when he was acting on Freaks and Geeks, said the trick to the screenplay he wrote with Goldstein and Michael Gilio was creating “disparate characters with pros and cons” much like the game, which “led to what ended being our script.”
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Jeremy Latcham, who produced the film, added it was also necessary to “appeal to people who played their whole lives and people who never played before.”
Getting a hugely loud response from the Paramount Theatre here was Page when the Bridgerton star came down to the lineup of audience members asking questions to take a photo with a passionate female fan.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is part of an enormous weekend for Paramount. It has the No. 1 movie in Scream VI which is posting a record franchise opening of $42M, and the Melrose Avenue studio is headed to the Oscars on Sunday with nine nominations including one for Best Picture with Top Gun: Maverick.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves opens in theaters on March 31.
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