Dungeons & Dragons Movie Lawsuit Gets Trial Date

Dungeons & Dragons Movie Lawsuit Gets Trial Date

The legal dispute between Hasbro and Sweetpea Entertainment over the Dungeons & Dragons television and movie rights will go to trial March 25.

The 2000 movie Dungeons & Dragons, based on the classic tabletop RPG, is widely regarded as one of the worst fantasy movies ever made. A new film was in the works from Warner Bros. and Sweetpea Entertainment. Sweetpea produced the 2000 theatrical release, as well as two later features that aired in 2005 and 2012 on the Syfy television channel. Shortly after the news broke about the Warner Bros. film, Hasbro filed a lawsuit to prevent its production. The dispute over who exactly owns the television and movie rights for Dungeons & Dragons will go to trial March 25.

Hasbro, who acquired Wizards of the Coast in 1999, believes that it holds the television and movie rights for Dungeons and Dragons. TSR, the original Dungeons & Dragons publisher, licensed Sweetpea to produce a movie, sequels, and television series in 1994. Hasbro claims that the contract stated that movie and televisions rights would each revert to TSR should Sweetpea let five years pass without a new production after the first. The lawsuit says, "Despite initial plans to release the First TV Movie as a theatrical or non-theatrical sequel based upon the Picture, the production actually was released in the United States as a television motion picture. Thus, the First TV Movie represented an exercise of the Television Rights and did not reset the Sequel Rights' five-year reversion clock." Sweetpea has filed counterclaims that the sequel rights have not reverted to Hasbro, and that the original contract gave Sweetpea exclusive and permanent rights to all Dungeons & Dragons material for live-action films. Sweetpea also claims that, even if the rights have reverted to Hasbro, it retains a "Right of Last Refusal" - that if Hasbro agrees to make a Dungeons & Dragons film, Sweetpea has the right to make the film on the same financial terms instead.

The time seems right for a return to the big screen for Dungeons & Dragons. With the success of the Game of Thrones television series, the movie-going public seems more likely than ever to watch paladins and mages fighting a dracolich. If we're lucky, the lawsuit will be settled soon, and we can go back to hoping the next film is better than the last.

Source: Purple Pawn


Considering how the first D&D movie turned out, I think I'll be rooting for Hasbro on that lawsuit, if only for the fact that they'll at least be more likely to follow the source material.

If nothing else, this further proves how screwed up the US copyright system is. Well, the sequel wasn't bad, and I haven't seen the third one.

That first film though...man...sooooo horrible...

Was that Jennifer Carpenter in it?

I remember watching the first movie long before I started playing D&D/Pathfinder. Needless to say, it was a steaming pile even then.

Given the nature of the game, I really don't think it needs a movie adaptation. But at the very least, I hope that Hasbro gets its hands on the rights.

It's got to be hard to adapt D&D into a movie script in any meaningful way. The material is so vast and inclusive that you can do any kind of fantasy setting and any sort of fantasy trope in D&D. As a result, D&D itself doesn't seem to have an identity of its own.

For instance, when I first saw the trailer for Seventh Son, I was sure up until they actually said the title that that was a new D&D movie because it had generic fantasy adventure written all over it.

But, whoever gets the rights and next decides to make a D&D movie... good luck to you. And for a bit of free advice you're never going to see because you don't read this one particular forum: create characters using the game's actual rules, scale their opponents properly per the DM'ing advice in the books, and don't deviate from what the rules make possible just for the sake of narrative. That's the only way to make real D&D fans happy. Oh, and don't make it too obvious that that's what you're doing. Don't point it out, just do it. That's the best way to appeal to casual and non-fans.


I was actually hoping to read about the guys who made that flick being on trial for making it...

If nothing else, this further proves how screwed up the US copyright system is. Well, the sequel wasn't bad, and I haven't seen the third one.

That first film though...man...sooooo horrible...

Was that Jennifer Carpenter in it?

Um this has not much to do with copyright law, most of it will be contract law, having a judge interpret a contract that was between TSR and Sweetpea Entertainment.

Well the D&D movies have been getting better each time. They still aren't up to the point of being "good" yet, just better.

There are so many D&D books that could be made into good movies though. There's Dragonlance (which has only had a terrible animated movie so far), Icewind Dale (who doesn't want to see Drizzt Do'Urden on the big screen?) to name a few. I wonder if Forgotten Realms and Eberron are different trademarks?

So in review we are talking about a fight over a good IP that has generated shit products....... Way to fight over the shit ball you dung beetles!!! Lawyers FTW!

I just recently got into D&D. Been a long time coming. Can we get a Dark Sun setting?

For anyone who has watched the first most and none of the ones following, skip the second and go directly to the third. It's pretty good. I'd pay to see a higher budget version of that.

If you have to make a movie based on a pen-and-paper roleplaying campaign, then go with Thieves' World.

This easily could (and should!) be adapted into a movie, or even a TV series, because it is awesome. Get the people who made Game of Thrones on the job and we'll be set.

And the only things good about the first D&D movie was Jeremy Irons and Bruce Payne eating any and all scenery they could get their hands on.

I don't understand why companies sell licenses so open-ended.

I don't care who gets the rights as long we either get Jeremy Irons hamming up an entire planet's worth of pork again or a decent fantasy movie that actually can take itself seriously without trying too hard.

I actually quite liked the first one, STOP HITTING ME. Granted it was years and years ago, so I was probably too young to see any of it's 'flaws' people seem to talk about.

The second one was absolute arse though. Felt like the makers actually played a game of it and forged the movie around their playthrough with the worst actors known to man.


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