Sophia Lillis Justice Smith Daisy Head Chris Pine Michelle Rodriguez Hugh Grant RegJean Page at the Los Angeles premiere...
Sophia Lillis, Justice Smith, Daisy Head, Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant, Regé-Jean Page at the Los Angeles premiere of "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" held at the Regency Village Theatre on March 26, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. By Gilbert Flores/Getty Images
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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Bests Challengers in Mighty Box Office Campaign

In the eyes of not just Beholders, it is a Critical Hit!

Well met, adventurers! Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves rolled at Natural 20 at the box office this weekend, vanquishing all foes and likely mapping out a return campaign as a new franchise for Paramount Pictures. Clearly, it wasn’t just loyalists of the legendary tabletop game emerging like bugbeasts from their caves to slovenly occupy theater seats, but “regular people,” too. 

As per Deadline, the picture grossed $38.5 million domestically and $71.5 million worldwide—higher numbers than had been expected. (Verily, the +3 charm on writer-directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley’s vorpal sword aided in the collection of said bounty!)

The movie came correct, with good characters, a deep knowledge of the IP’s lore (though not so much that you needed to already be a fan), comedy, and well-lit action you could see. Chris Pine is splendid as the bard Edgin Darvis (yes, he sings and plays the lute), a variant of his from-the-hip version of Captain James T. Kirk in his three Star Trek films, but a little sweeter, older, wiser.

V.F.’s review saluted the movie for being an “homage and gentle parody at once, seeking to capture the energy of playing the game with friends rather than trying to seriously literalize an expansive world.” (That said, if you often traverse to the Forgotten Realms, you’ll be freaking out within just a few minutes, spotting lands like the Icewind Dale on a map, not to mention seeing quick glimpses of a Mimic or characters from the 40-year-old Saturday morning cartoon show.) 

In addition to Pine, the movie co-stars Michelle Rodriguez as a barbarian (and non-romantic life partner to Pine), Justice Smith as a sorcerer, Sophia Lillis as a druid, Regé-Jean Page as a scene-stealing paladin, Daisy Head as a red wizard (boo!), and Hugh Grant as a rogue. Bradley Cooper also shows up in a “what am I looking at here?” cameo.

The picture’s success leads one to ask if we’ll see more D&D movies in the future. It’s a hit, but not a Tiamat-sized monster, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie coming next week is poised to conquer the box office. (However, there are some cases—and this might be one—where a movie is so big that overflow from packed houses causes a rising tide to lift all boats. Lo! If only we had the power of the red wizard and could truly foresee what next week would bring?!?)

Should the movie lead to sequels, it could also finally tear the Band-Aid for fantasy/sci-fi fans still holding out for another Pine Star Trek film. There’s been talk of a fourth project in that timeline since Star Trek Beyond debuted in 2016, with creatives like Matt Shakman, and, at one point, Quentin Tarantino in the mix working with J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot shingle. Over on Paramount+, however, the hit series Strange New Worlds stealthily warped into the film’s territory, introducing a new/old/alternate Spock (Ethan Peck), Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), and Kirk (Paul Wesley). 

D&D’s John Francis Daley, whose previous work with Jonathan Goldstein included writing the screenplay for Spider-Man: Homecoming, got his start as a kid actor on Freaks and Geeks. As such, behold: some of the greatest “let’s market this to Gen X nerds” moments in cinema history.