‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Conjures $38.5 Million Box Office Opening

Profitability of Paramount’s big-budget fantasy film remains up in the air

"Dungeons & Dragons" faces a box-office challenge for its second weekend.
"Dungeons & Dragons" faces a box-office challenge for its second weekend.

It’s looking like a so-so start for Paramount/eOne’s “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,” which has earned an estimated $38.5 million opening weekend from 3,855 theaters. Combined with $33 million from overseas, the film has a $71.5 million global launch.

The fantasy adventure based on the tabletop role-playing game has earned strong word-of-mouth with a 91% critics and 94% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes to go with an A- on CinemaScore and 4.5/5 stars on PostTrak. Reviews have praised the film as an exciting blockbuster for both hardcore “D&D” fans and general audiences who have never played the game.

But “Dungeons & Dragons” also sports a reported $150 million production budget and a marketing spend that included a premiere at SXSW. That excellent word-of-mouth will have to bring considerable legs to this film’s box office run for it to earn any sort of theatrical profit. To do that, “Dungeons & Dragons” will have to sustain its buzz against Universal/Illumination’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” next weekend, which, while more oriented towards families, will also be competing for general audience attention.

Lionsgate’s “John Wick: Chapter 4” is in second place with $28.2 million in its second weekend, marking a 62% drop from the R-rated film’s franchise record $73.5 million opening.

While some analysts told TheWrap this past week that they believed “Wick 4” could hold its weekend drop to below 60% with its strong word-of-mouth, sources at Lionsgate say this weekend’s result was consistent with both their internal projections and the higher second weekend drops seen for most blockbusters in the past two years. According to data from box office analyst Bruce Nash, the average second weekend drop for films released since theaters reopened has risen to 57% compared to 51% prior to the pandemic.

Even with a drop over 60%, “John Wick 4” is still set to become the highest grossing “Wick” film with a 10-day domestic total of $122.8 million — 20% ahead of the pace of “John Wick: Chapter 3” — and a global 10-day total of $245 million.

Paramount/Spyglass’ “Scream VI” is in third with $5.3 million in its fourth weekend, putting it on the doorstep of $100 million domestic with a running total of $98.5 million. MGM’s “Creed III” is in fourth with $5 million in its fifth weekend, bringing it to $148.5 million domestic.

In a virtual tie with “Creed III” is Angel Studios’ “His Only Son,” which also earned $5 million in its opening weekend from 1,920 theaters. The microbudget Christian film about the Old Testament patriarch Abraham only cost $250,000 to make, but is performing well among evangelical audiences among whom Angel Studios has built a following with the crowdfunded series “The Chosen.”

Outside the Top 5, Focus Features’ “A Thousand and One” has grossed $1.8 million from 926 theaters. The Sundance jury prize-winning film about a single mother and her 6-year-old son in Harlem has a 96% critics and 84% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes alongside a B+ on CinemaScore.