Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Loots $40 Million From The Box Office In Opening Weekend

Gather ye round as I pull up my sleeves, and tell you a story of honor among thieves. Specifically, the tale of "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves," the new comedy-tinged fantasy adventure from "Game Night" directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, which is testing its mettle at the box office for the first time this weekend.

Produced by Paramount Pictures for a $150 million budget, with 50% of the financing coming from Hasbro subsidiary and U.K. distributor eOne, "Honor Among Thieves" is on track to debut at the top end of earlier projections, though still with a difficult path ahead. The Hollywood Reporter estimates that the "Dungeons & Dragons" movie will easily take the weekend No. 1 spot with $40 million stateside, after projections early in the week pointed to a $30-40 million start. The film had already grossed $15.3 million by Friday, including Thursday night previews and other early screenings.

Big-budget fantasies, even those attached to a known IP, are always a gamble at the box office — but "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" has a few magic spells in its arsenal. A high Charisma score has won over critics and general audiences alike, with the film's Rotten Tomatoes score currently at 91% and exit polling from public screenings landing it an A- CinemaScore. "Honor Among Thieves" is also opening across more than 50 international markets this weekend; early projections (via Deadline) pointed to a $25 million overseas debut, but we'll have a clearer picture by Monday.

How does it measure up against the last D&D movie?

There have actually been three previous "Dungeons & Dragons" movies, but only one that released in theaters: 2000's "Dungeons & Dragons," directed by Courtney Solomon, was panned by critics upon release but later came to be regarded with semi-ironic fond nostalgia — in large part thanks to Jeremy Irons' truly entertaining villain. In terms of box office, "Dungeons & Dragons" set a very low bar to clear: it debuted at No. 5 with a dismal $7.2 million opening weekend (adjusted for inflation, that's about $12.6 million) and was a notorious financial bomb, grossing just $33 million worldwide by the end of its theatrical run. "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" will make more than that in its opening weekend alone.

Don't start clinking your tankards of mead just yet, though. "Honor Among Thieves" still has some way to go, given that it cost roughly twice as much to make as the 2000 movie (whose production budget was $45 million, or around $78 million adjusted for inflation). Factoring in the cost of marketing, its global break-even point will probably be in the $350-450 million range.

One useful comparison point is Duncan Jones' 2016 movie "Warcraft," another big screen adaptation of a popular fantasy game. Made for a similar budget to "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves," "Warcraft" grossed just $24.1 million in its domestic opening weekend and would have been a total box office disaster without its surprisingly huge success overseas. Ultimately, only 10.8% of its final box office total of $439 million came from U.S. theaters, with more than half ($225 million) made from ticket sales in China.

"Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" is getting a day-and-date release in China this weekend. It's off to a difficult start, but should be helped by the positive reviews and strong word of mouth. If it can manage both strong overseas numbers and small week-to-week drops domestically, "Honor Among Thieves" could see a happy ending to its campaign.