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Author Topic: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?  (Read 973 times)

Bruwulf

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Why does WotC insist on making "Dungeons and Dragons" branded stuff, instead of, for example, "The Legend of Drizzt", or something?

I'm not going to fight about which particular famous D&D characters you would want to see in a movie, I picked Drizzt because he's probably still about the most famous one these days, but my point is... Why do we keep getting generic "D&D" movies with random shlubs we don't have any investment in, that invariably suck because a D&D campaign itself doesn't really make for a good movie, and end up just being giant flops for WotC?

I know there was that god-awful animated Dragonlance movie back ~15 years ago, that as far as I can tell had the animation budget for a movie about a quarter as long as what it ultimately was, so as a result was just a hot mess from a production standpoint, and yeah, I know given what's' happened in the last few years the chance of WotC ever making any media with the Dragonlance name on it is about zero, but beyond that D&D movies never seem to take advantage of the stable of IP they already have. Make a Drizzt movie. Make a movie about Strahd. Make a movie about frickin' Elminster, even.

It's like if Marvel studios just decided to make "A Superhero Movie", as opposed to an Iron Man or Thor movie. You *can* make an original IP superhero, you can even make a movie about them... But it's an uphill battle, when you've already got developed, fleshed out characters that have a built-in audience.

Is it just that they don't want to have to pay a percentage to the authors who came up with the characters, or what?

Ratman_tf

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2023, 12:26:11 PM »
Because Dungeons And Dragons has name recognition beyond the niche of TTRPGers. Drizzit or Forgotten Realms or whatever does not.

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Bruwulf

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2023, 12:33:30 PM »
Because Dungeons And Dragons has name recognition beyond the niche of TTRPGers. Drizzit or Forgotten Realms or whatever does not.

Sure, I'm not really saying to drop "Dungeons and Dragons" branding, I suppose my wording was a bit poor there, I'm saying to augment it. "Dungeons and Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt", or "Dungeons and Dragons: The Curse of Strahd", whatever. You still get the random person who knows about D&D but not any of the literature, but as a bonus you also get the people who have read the books but don't actually play Dungeons and Dragons - and those people do exist.

I mean, it's literally just what they already do with the movies, but adding additional draw and giving themselves a whole library of proven stories to adapt, rather than trying to come up with something new out of whole cloth.

Ratman_tf

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2023, 12:57:17 PM »
Because Dungeons And Dragons has name recognition beyond the niche of TTRPGers. Drizzit or Forgotten Realms or whatever does not.

Sure, I'm not really saying to drop "Dungeons and Dragons" branding, I suppose my wording was a bit poor there, I'm saying to augment it. "Dungeons and Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt", or "Dungeons and Dragons: The Curse of Strahd", whatever. You still get the random person who knows about D&D but not any of the literature, but as a bonus you also get the people who have read the books but don't actually play Dungeons and Dragons - and those people do exist.

I mean, it's literally just what they already do with the movies, but adding additional draw and giving themselves a whole library of proven stories to adapt, rather than trying to come up with something new out of whole cloth.

Dunno. I imagine that somewhere along the line, the bean counters start interjecting ideas about making it appeal to a broader audience, and dumb down all the lore, until it's a bland mush of mindless tropes instead of a proper D&D adaptation.
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Persimmon

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2023, 08:07:01 PM »
Because Dungeons And Dragons has name recognition beyond the niche of TTRPGers. Drizzit or Forgotten Realms or whatever does not.

Sure, I'm not really saying to drop "Dungeons and Dragons" branding, I suppose my wording was a bit poor there, I'm saying to augment it. "Dungeons and Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt", or "Dungeons and Dragons: The Curse of Strahd", whatever. You still get the random person who knows about D&D but not any of the literature, but as a bonus you also get the people who have read the books but don't actually play Dungeons and Dragons - and those people do exist.

I mean, it's literally just what they already do with the movies, but adding additional draw and giving themselves a whole library of proven stories to adapt, rather than trying to come up with something new out of whole cloth.

Dunno. I imagine that somewhere along the line, the bean counters start interjecting ideas about making it appeal to a broader audience, and dumb down all the lore, until it's a bland mush of mindless tropes instead of a proper D&D adaptation.

Hmmm,  sounds exactly like what some idiots did with Tolkien in "Rings of Power."

Ratman_tf

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2023, 08:45:22 PM »
Because Dungeons And Dragons has name recognition beyond the niche of TTRPGers. Drizzit or Forgotten Realms or whatever does not.

Sure, I'm not really saying to drop "Dungeons and Dragons" branding, I suppose my wording was a bit poor there, I'm saying to augment it. "Dungeons and Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt", or "Dungeons and Dragons: The Curse of Strahd", whatever. You still get the random person who knows about D&D but not any of the literature, but as a bonus you also get the people who have read the books but don't actually play Dungeons and Dragons - and those people do exist.

I mean, it's literally just what they already do with the movies, but adding additional draw and giving themselves a whole library of proven stories to adapt, rather than trying to come up with something new out of whole cloth.

Dunno. I imagine that somewhere along the line, the bean counters start interjecting ideas about making it appeal to a broader audience, and dumb down all the lore, until it's a bland mush of mindless tropes instead of a proper D&D adaptation.

Hmmm,  sounds exactly like what some idiots did with Tolkien in "Rings of Power."

Exhibit A. ;) (Not D&D specifically, but an example of the process.)
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JeremyR

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2023, 03:47:24 AM »
I would guess because D&D has more name recognition than Drizzt. Superhero movies it's the reverse - people have heard of the X-men or Batman but possibly don't know that company made them.

Although the movie that arguably started the blockbuster superhero movie phenomenon, Blade, was based on a pretty obscure character and was just a good movie.

hedgehobbit

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2023, 11:41:32 AM »
Could you even do a Drizzt move considering all the wokeness? I don't think you'd be allowed to portray the Drow as evil anymore which completely changes the entire character.

Persimmon

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2023, 02:24:32 PM »
Could you even do a Drizzt move considering all the wokeness? I don't think you'd be allowed to portray the Drow as evil anymore which completely changes the entire character.

True; though Salvatore started that path, essentially ruining the drow.  Before Drizz't they were the suave, mysterious, super evil, super powerful, enigmatic villains that you loved to hate.  He opens the door and suddenly in the '90s practically every gaming group had someone wanting to play the "rare, good drow" just like everyone was suddenly infatuated with those brooding pedophile vampires.  And these drow were always dual wielders fighting injustice and racism.  Then, the drow just became ubiquitous in the Forgotten Realms so they were suddenly in every other tavern and there were half-drow kids running around, etc.  So next thing you know, some of them are good.  WTF?  I miss D1-3 when people didn't know they really existed and if you survived an encounter with them it was a big deal.

So yeah, if they somehow did a Drizz't movie they'd lean hard into the black superhero writing wrongs, no doubt with his white girlfriend from another race/species.

jhkim

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2023, 03:19:06 PM »
Could you even do a Drizzt move considering all the wokeness? I don't think you'd be allowed to portray the Drow as evil anymore which completely changes the entire character.

True; though Salvatore started that path, essentially ruining the drow.  Before Drizz't they were the suave, mysterious, super evil, super powerful, enigmatic villains that you loved to hate.  He opens the door and suddenly in the '90s practically every gaming group had someone wanting to play the "rare, good drow" just like everyone was suddenly infatuated with those brooding pedophile vampires.

In my experience, rare good drow PCs started becoming common when Unearthed Arcana was released in 1985 and made drow an official PC race. Especially since new options for AD&D had been rare, there was an explosion in most of the UA options - acrobats, weapon specialists, wild elves, drow, etc.


EDITED TO ADD: Regarding the original post, longer titles like "Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt" are usually only added for sequels, not for reboots. So the Star Trek reboot was just "Star Trek", and it was only sequels that added more lines. Going further, using classic D&D storylines for the initial film of a series has a problem of intended audience. The D&D novels have been niche products that were mostly written for people who are already D&D fans, while the big-release D&D movies have been trying to draw in people who know almost nothing about D&D. The classic storylines are likely to rely on the audience already being D&D fans.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2023, 03:25:37 PM by jhkim »

Ratman_tf

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2023, 03:30:38 PM »
Could you even do a Drizzt move considering all the wokeness? I don't think you'd be allowed to portray the Drow as evil anymore which completely changes the entire character.

True; though Salvatore started that path, essentially ruining the drow.  Before Drizz't they were the suave, mysterious, super evil, super powerful, enigmatic villains that you loved to hate.  He opens the door and suddenly in the '90s practically every gaming group had someone wanting to play the "rare, good drow" just like everyone was suddenly infatuated with those brooding pedophile vampires.  And these drow were always dual wielders fighting injustice and racism.  Then, the drow just became ubiquitous in the Forgotten Realms so they were suddenly in every other tavern and there were half-drow kids running around, etc.  So next thing you know, some of them are good.  WTF?  I miss D1-3 when people didn't know they really existed and if you survived an encounter with them it was a big deal.


Aint' that the fate of most popular villians? They start out cool and mysterious, they get popular, they get over-used and run into the ground.
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Persimmon

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2023, 07:09:22 PM »
The people I played with in the 80s NEVER had a drow PC, even with the release of Unearthed Arcana.  They were, and still are in my campaign world, something you killed on sight, like the Taliban.  I suppose there could theoretically be a good one, but we're not taking that chance.  Let Lolth sort them out.

But once those Drizz't books came out, those damn good-aligned drow who could survive happily in sunlight were everywhere.

And of course there are other problems with Drizz't.  First and foremost, he's fighting a black matriarchy.  No way that storyline flies in Hollywood these days.  So he'd probably be race and gender swapped, and all the female drow villains from the books would become CIS white men...

Grognard GM

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2023, 08:58:33 PM »
You only notice because you have familiarity with the D&D source material; but this is what Hollywood has always done with every myth, fairy tale, historical event, book, video game, or comicbook adaption. Cherry pick some names and tidbits of lore, slap them on to a story that often has little to do with, or even is antithetical to, the source material; then crap it out on the screen.

I'm a middle aged guy with a lot of free time, looking for similar, to form a group for regular gaming. You should be chill, non-woke, and have time on your hands.

See below:

https://www.therpgsite.com/news-and-adverts/looking-to-form-a-group-of-people-with-lots-of-spare-time-for-regular-games/

Grognard GM

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2023, 09:02:27 PM »
They were, and still are in my campaign world, something you killed on sight, like the Taliban.  I suppose there could theoretically be a good one, but we're not taking that chance.  Let Lolth sort them out.

I've never read the books, but I read the comicbook adaptions, and I'm wondering how much they were "changed for a modern audience."

Because the repeated theme was "here's another group of bigoted humans, treating him badly just because of his skin color!" Like his species isn't 99.9999% evil, and literally monsters from children's stories to the surface people.
I'm a middle aged guy with a lot of free time, looking for similar, to form a group for regular gaming. You should be chill, non-woke, and have time on your hands.

See below:

https://www.therpgsite.com/news-and-adverts/looking-to-form-a-group-of-people-with-lots-of-spare-time-for-regular-games/

Bruwulf

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Re: Why are D&D movies... "D&D" movies, instead of something more specific?
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2023, 09:10:34 PM »
You only notice because you have familiarity with the D&D source material; but this is what Hollywood has always done with every myth, fairy tale, historical event, book, video game, or comicbook adaption. Cherry pick some names and tidbits of lore, slap them on to a story that often has little to do with, or even is antithetical to, the source material; then crap it out on the screen.

Actually, my complaint is kind of more that so far that D&D movies have gone to almost admirable lengths to avoid even "cherry picking some names and tidbits of lore", when there's so much of it there to use.

I mean, honestly, at least the two D&D movies I've seen and can remember enough of to comment on, you couldn't prove to me they even were D&D movies. Just... crappy B-movie generic fantasy schlock.