NewsWire: Studios do battle to roll dice on 'D&D' - USA Today

Though not necessarily LotR news it is interesting to think about what would happen if New Line got the D&D franchise as well. If I was one of the suits at New Line I would be pushing for this big time. It would create a almost complete lock on the Fantasy genre of movies over the next couple of years. Another interesting aspect to this news is that market research and advertising could be overlapped. New Line could pull another George Lucas on us and use this movie in the same way that Lucas used the special editions to hype up the Star Wars genre before Episode 1 came out.

Dungeons & Dragons could be battling it out on the big screen as soon as Christmas.

Rumors have been spreading on the Internet that the sword-and-sorcery movie, based on the popular role-playing game, has been troubled by a bulging budget. Online gossips have hinted darkly that cost overruns might stall the necessary special effects.

They have been poorly informed. While the movie did end up costing $36 million (the original budget was reported at $28 million), the filmmakers have had little trouble completing the effects. Jeremy Irons (Lolita), Thora Birch (American Beauty) and Marlon Wayans (Scary Movie) star in the film, which finished shooting a year ago and should be completed by November.

With power producer Joel Silver (Lethal Weapon) involved, the thought was that D&D would end up at Warner Bros., where Silver has a long relationship. But other bidders have emerged, including New Line Cinema, Warner Bros.' corporate cousin.

If New Line secured the rights, it would be a good fit. The company knows how to market genre films (A Nightmare on Elm Street was its first winning franchise) and is in the middle of making three movies based on another famed fantasy title: Lord of the Rings.

Depending on who picks up the film, it will be released at Christmas or early 2001.

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