‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Firing Up $40M Opening, Nabs A- CinemaScore – Saturday Box Office

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Saturday AM: Refresh for more updates and chart Though Friday was $15.3M, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is still looking at a $40M opening. This is the high end of tracking, and that is to be commended for the Paramount/eOne $150M production which the former studio was careful to lay off risk on.

Though not the most bedazzling start for a movie of that size, we need to remember the pandemic comp of Sony’s Uncharted, which cost $120M, opened to $44M, finaled at $148.6M U.S./Canada and $401.7M WW. Sony was quick to call that a franchise start. The scores here are fantastic for D&D with an A-, 90% on ComScore/Screen Engine PostTrak with a 77% recommend. Kids under 12 gave it 85% positive with a 51% definite recommend. Can this go higher this weekend? Most sources believe $40M is the ceiling here for the Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant, Rege-Jean Page and Sophia Lillis movie. Imax and PLFs are driving 36% of the weekend ticket sales to date.

Some rival distributors have snarked that this was a hard spot for D&D to go between John Wick: Chapter 4 and Universal/Illumination’s Super Mario Bros, however, where else to program a film in 2023 as all these movies come out of the post-production logjam? For the month of April, it’s the marquee live-action PG-13 fanboy film outside of Super Mario Bros, three horror pics – The Pope’s Exorcist, Renfield, Evil Dead Rise, and female skewing fare like Are There God? It’s Me Margaret — all before Disney/Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 arrives to steal all the cash. Not to mention, this week, a third of all K-12 schools are off starting Monday, with 5% colleges off rising to 80% K-12 out, 31% colleges on break on Good Friday. And you have Super Mario Bros opening on Wednesday, so by that measure, Paramount was getting out ahead with D&D and you can’t blame them for that. Let’s wait and see what the multiple is on this John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein directed/written movie. We could be looking at a nice 4-day opening here.

Paramount definitely didn’t abandon this movie, rather championed it to the sky with excessive screenings, recognizing its fanfare. Let’s just say this D&D is going to go a longer way than New Line’s 2000 sour failure which opened to $7.2M, and finaled at $15.3M, and a near $34M WW. Clearly moviegoers prefer this feature adaptation of the role-playing game.

D&D was on a roll in the West, Mountain and Midwest but had solid numbers throughout the country. The AMC Burbank was the top grossing venue with close to $60K yesterday.

All movies this weekend look to gross an estimated $100.6M, +21% over the same frame a year ago. We’re still rebounding. But we’re still off -27% from the same weekend in 2019 which grossed $137.8M, and that’s when Dumbo opened to $45.9M off a $170M budget.

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Friday Midday: Right now, Paramount/eOne’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is looking at $16M today, including those $5.6M previews for a $40M start. I’m told that won’t buckle.

Top five pics:

1.) Dungeons & Dragons (Par) 3,855 theaters, Fri $16M, 3-day $30M/Wk 1

2.) John Wick Chapter 4 (LG) 3,855 theaters, Fri $8.2M (-72%), 3-day $30M (-59%), Total $124.6M/Wk 2

3.) His Only Son (Angel) 1,920 theaters, Fri $2.1M, 3-day $5.8M/Wk 1

4.) Creed III (MGM) 2,827 theaters, Fri $1.5M, 3-day $5.2M (-37%), Total $148.7M/Wk 5

5.) Scream VI (Par) 3,106 theaters, Fri $1.4M (-42%), 3-day $4.6M (-44%), Total $97.5M/Wk 4

Check out our interview with John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, directors/writers/EPs on D&D, here.

Friday AM: Paramount and eOne’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves has made $5.6M in previews. That’s not all from Thursday showtimes, which began at 3 p.m., but includes advance Amazon sneaks among other pre-screenings. Before Thursday, we’re told Dungeons & Dragons made $1.5M. While the feature take on the popular role-playing game has been hot in word of mouth (92% on Rotten Tomatoes) and with critics (89% certified fresh), tracking has sat on the movie with a $30M-$40M domestic opening projection for the $150M production (covered 50% by eOne).

Paramount believed in this movie so much that it screened the pic extensively and brought it to SXSW, where the pic made its world premiere as the fest’s opening-night title. The hope by all is that the pic overindexes this weekend, but it might be a slow burn for the film; it’s the only new live-action PG-13 fanboy choice heading into the Easter frame next weekend.

John Wick: Chapter 4

D&D gains a majority of the premium venues from Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 4 this weekend. That movie had a hot week with $94.6M at 3,855 theaters. If D&D underdelivers, does John Wick 4 claim No. 1? Even if the Keanu Reeves R-rated action pic tumbles 60%, it will see a $30M opening.

RELATED: Lionsgate’s Joe Drake Wants To See Keanu Reeves In More ‘John Wick’ Pics After ‘Chapter 4’ Franchise Record B.O. Debut: “We’re Not Ready To Say Goodbye”

The John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein directed/written D&D is also hitting 58 offshore territories including the UK (distributed by eOne), Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Spain, with an outlook of $25M+. At the high-end, it’s a hopeful $65M global start.

On the upside, D&D‘s $4.1M Thursday is ahead of its comp Uncharted‘s Thursday previews of $3.7M last year, also ahead of spring hit Kong: Skull Island ($3.7M) and 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road ($3.7M) and just under the $4.3M Thursday of Paramount’s surprise 2018 genre spring hit, A Quiet Place, which flew to a $50.2M opening and legged out to $188M stateside, $340M WW and birthed a franchise. Uncharted is a good comp here to D&D. That pic was based on a popular Sony PlayStation videogame and opened to $44M, finaled at $148M stateside, $401.7M WW.

Top five films on Thursday:

1 John Wick: Chapter 4 (LG) 3,855 theaters, Thu $3.8M (-15% from Wednesday) Wk $94.6M/Wk 1 (read the review)

2 Scream VI (Par) 3,355 theaters, Thu $710 (-3%), Wk $11.4M/Total $92.9M/Wk 3 (read the review)

3 Creed III (MGM/UAR) 3207 theaters, Thu $665K, Wk $11M, Total $143.5M/Wk 4 (read the review)

4 Shazam! Fury of the Gods (NL) 4071 theaters, Thu $580K (-14%), Wk $12.2M/Total $48.8M/Wk 2 (read the review)

5 Dasara (CGX) 510 theaters, Thu $272K (-59%), Wk $939K/Wk 1
The Indian feature from writer-director Srikanth Odhela is set against the backdrop of the Singareni coal mines near Godavarikhani of Telangana. Watch the trailer below:

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