‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Summons a $40 Million Box Office Launch

Jury is still out on whether Paramount’s well-received fantasy adventure will turn a theatrical profit

Paramount Pictures

Paramount/eOne’s “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is off to a decent box office start. After making $15.3 million from 3,855 theaters on opening day, the fantasy adventure based on the famed tabletop game series is projected for a $40 million opening weekend, including sneak preview screenings.

That’s a number that rival distributors told TheWrap was a likely outcome as independent tracking predicted a softer $30-35 million opening. It’s also possible that “Dungeons & Dragons” could push that estimate up a bit further by the end of the weekend, as the film’s strong word-of-mouth could generate walk-up ticket sales for matinee and evening screenings. The film earned an A- on CinemaScore to go with strong Rotten Tomatoes scores of 90% critics and 93% audience.

But with a reported $150 million production budget before a marketing campaign that included a SXSW premiere, “Dungeons & Dragons” is still a very long way from ensuring theatrical profitability. As Comscore’s Paul Dergarabedian told TheWrap earlier this week, the fate of “D&D” likely won’t be known until its third weekend.

Between now and then, the film’s strong buzz must continue to expand even with immense competition from Universal/Illumination’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” next weekend to allow it to leg out through the rest of April, when the wide release competition will significantly wane.

Lionsgate’s “John Wick: Chapter 4” is in second place on the charts with a slightly steeper second weekend drop than expected. The R-rated action film is estimated to earn $29 million this weekend for a 61% drop from its franchise-best $73.8 million opening weekend. Still, with a $123 million estimated 10-day domestic total, “Wick 4” is still on pace to become the highest-grossing film in the Keanu Reeves/Chad Stahelski series.

Also opening this weekend ahead of Easter is Angel Studios’ “His Only Son,” which is expected to earn $5 million from 1,920 theaters, earning an A on CinemaScore. The Christian film from the studio behind “The Chosen” is in a narrow race for the No. 3 spot alongside Paramount/Spyglass’ “Scream VI,” which is on the doorstep of $100 million domestic, and MGM’s “Creed III,” which is at the threshold of $150 million domestic.

Outside the top 5, Focus Features’ Sundance Jury Prize winner “A Thousand and One” is estimated for a $1.7 million opening from 926 theaters. The film earned a B+ on CinemaScore to go with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 96% critics and 85% audience.