Paramount and Entertainment One’s “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” got off to a promising start Thursday. The $150 million adaptation of the popular table-top role-playing game, which also opens overseas in 50 territories, earned $4.1 million via Thursday previews that began as early as 3:00 p.m. When the handful of nationwide sneak previews are tossed in, that’s $5.6 million heading into the traditional Friday-Sunday weekend, giving the film a shot at a $40 million-plus opening.
Tracking has been at around $30 million for weeks, but all parties hope the would-be franchise starter will benefit from strong reviews, encouraging word-of-mouth and a lack of kid-friendly offerings in recent months. We also haven’t had a young-skewing title that wasn’t part of a complicated superhero cinematic universe since Universal and DreamWorks’ “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” over Christmas weekend.
That’s just one reason why the acclaimed and buzzy animated sequel has earned around $185 million domestic and $475 million worldwide from a relatively slight opening weekend. Meanwhile, even as a franchise title, “Honor Among Thieves” doesn’t scream “gotta see it at the first possible moment,” meaning it could benefit from casual walk-in business from general audiences and families waiting until the proper weekend frame.
If the Johnathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley-directed feature plays like the first “Shazam” ($57 million from $5.9 million in Thursday previews and earlier nationwide sneaks), it’ll end the weekend with a terrific $53 million. That seems a bit optimistic, so let’s presume that some audiences aren’t chomping at the bit for a D&D movie, especially those who already spent their monthly moviegoing evening at “John Wick: Chapter 4” or “Creed III.”
A 12% to 15% Thursday-to-weekend figure would still give the film a $37 million to $47 million launch, both of which would be quite encouraging. The action-comedy fantasy, starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, and Hugh Grant, has a shot at being a leggy pre-summer title. However, even if it opens well this weekend, it’ll face the 1800-pound gorilla known as Donkey Kong when “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” opens this coming Wednesday.