I’m not ashamed to say that I have this movie from 2000 on DVD – it’s good, cheesy fun. So when I heard that Warner Bros. had acquired rights to make another film based on D&D, I was excited. David Leslie Johnson wrote the script (Chainmail, based on another pen-and-paper RPG that Gary Gygax and Dave Ameson developed prior to creating D&D, and Roy Lee and Courtney Solomon were set to produce. Courtney was the guy who directed the first movie. There were also two movies, D&D: Wrath of the Dragon God and D&D: The Book of Vile Darkness, that came out first on SyFy and then direct to DVD.
Unfortunately, the production has been delayed due to Solomon’s Company, Sweetpea Entertainment, being sued by Hasbro, who says that they are the ones who have the rights to make a D&D movie. You can read the entire lawsuit here. Hasbro apparently has also licensed a reboot of the series to Universal Studios. The lawsuit “seeks a declaration that it owns rights to the property and an injunction to stop the planned Warner Bros. film.” They say that Sweetpea had rights to do a sequel or prequel, but only theatrically, so the made-for-television movies didn’t count. Additionally, The Book of Vile Darkness doesn’t reference anything from the previous films, which makes it not count as a sequel. You can read the official statement from Sweetpea Entertainment responding to this below:
Sweetpea Entertainment has had Dungeons & Dragons motion picture rights since the 1990’s including sequel, prequel and remake rights” said Sweetpea principal Courtney Solomon. “We have made three pictures so far, and we’re going to make more –including the tentpole project that is currently in advanced stages of development with Warner Bros.”
Last week, trades had reported that Warner Bros. was proceeding with the development of the project, working with a script by David Leslie Johnson, to be produced by Roy Lee, Courtney Solomon and Allan Zeman.
“This is nothing but shameless opportunism on the part of Hasbro, an effort to use the Court and the legal process in an attempt to delay the project,” continued Solomon. “We intend to deal with them quickly and firmly and we are confident we will prevail – just as we did in the 1990s, when the last legal challenge ended with a confirmation of Sweepea’s rights.
Sweetpea has retained Patricia Glaser of Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP as litigation counsel. “Another suit filed to try to put the freeze on a project,” said Glaser. “Classic Hollywood shenanigans.”
I just wanna watch this movie, I honestly don’t care who makes it – it’s going to be cheesy either way.