Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves box office in danger from OGL backlash

As the controversy continues with Dungeons & Dragons OGL 1.2, the negative backlash from the gaming community may hurt the box office of Honor Among Thieves.

The controversy with the Open Gaming License (OGL) for D&D has apparently ended. But is it too late? The drama surrounding it may have already affected the box office performance of the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves film.

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The negative backlash targeted at D&D and its Open Gaming License may have already hurt the box office of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. (Images: Paramount Pictures/eOne and Hasbro)

The Open Gaming License (OGL) has been a powder keg of a topic these past couple of months. After Wizards of the Coast and parent company Hasbro announced big changes for the OGL in order to optimize the D&D brand’s monetization, the gaming community pushed back in unison. Both fans of the most popular tabletop roleplaying game and its third party creators denounced the proposed changes to OGL 1.0a. And with the big budget live action film arriving soon, the timing could not be any less fortunate.

The Dungeons & Dragons brand has been under fire due to the issues regarding the corporate push to change the long-standing Open Gaming License and the D&D Beyond digital tool. The OGL 1.1 version was leaked and the response was universally negative in the gaming community. The response online was so massive, it was covered on mainstream news outlets.

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It took weeks for WotC and the D&D design team to issue an official response, which included modifications to the highlighted problems.

However, this version (dubbed OGL 1.2) was also met with backlash from the gaming community. This was reflected in the survey results that D&D received.

In the face of overwhelming negative reactions, WotC and the Dungeons & Dragons design team have apparently acquiesced. Thus, the OGL 1.0a will supposedly remain intact and a new System Reference Document (SRD) will be released under the Creative Commons license.

While the tabletop gaming community and third party creators have welcomed this, the controversies surrounding it may have adversely impacted the live action film Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

During the height of the controversy, fans of the D&D brand have openly called to boycott the movie. Some have taken to platforms such as Reddit and Twitter to push for this box office boycott with the hashtag #BoycottDNDMovie. This development, along with thousands of subscriptions to D&D Beyond being cancelled, may have factored into the decision to pull back on the changes to the OGL.

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With the live action film and a planned Paramount+ spinoff TV series, the OGL controversy surrounding Dungeons & Dragons came at a bad time.

Prior to the controversial issues with the OGL and D&D Beyond Virtual Tabletop (VTT) proposals, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves was predicted to be a similar success to the first Guardians of the Galaxy film from Marvel Studios. IMDB projected it will have an opening at around $73 million with a $600 million+ worldwide box office take. But all this was before the negative reaction to the D&D leaked OGL 1.1.

With D&D being pushed to gain a more mass media popularity, the live action film starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant, and others becoming a box office bomb is the last thing WotC and Hasbro wants. That kind of result would certainly derail the plans for the Paramount+ TV series intended to spinoff from the movie and build a new Dungeons & Dragons cinematic universe.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves gathers its adventuring party in U.S. theaters on March 31, 2023.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.
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