Legal Battle Over D&D Movie Ends in Settlement


     LOS ANGELES (CN) - The fate of a movie based on role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons hung in the balance for two years as a toy giant and fan-turned-filmmaker squabbled over film rights to the franchise.
     Now almost a year after the conclusion of a trial in the case, lawyers for plaintiff Hasbro and filmmaker Courtney Solomon on Monday filed a stipulation to dismiss their claims, paving the way for a new movie at Warner Bros.
     "We are thrilled that this beloved property can finally make its way to the big screen after 20 years, and that it can be realized by Warner Bros., which has been responsible for the biggest fantasy franchises over the past two decades," Solomon said in a statement to Variety.
     The studio has a track record of delivering the goods in the fantasy genre after its involvement in the big screen adaptations of "Harry Potter" and "The Lord of the Rings."
     During the six-day trial in U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee's courtroom last September, the parties battled it out in a high-stakes case over who controls movie rights to the game,
     It may have seemed like a David and Goliath legal battle. But Solomon reportedly had Warner's backing to litigate the case after he had reached an agreement with the studio to make a D&D-based movie called "Chainmail."
     Hasbro's 2013 lawsuit for copyright and trademark infringement against Solomon's Sweetpea Entertainment coincided with reports that it was planning to make its own D&D movie at Universal Studios.
     How did a lone filmmaker get to claim movie rights to what could be the next blockbuster fantasy franchise?
     When he was just 19, Solomon secured rights to make a movie based on the game from previous D&D owner, TSR.
     Wizards of the Coast bought TSR. Wizards became a subsidiary of Hasbro in 1999.
     Solomon did not direct the second D&D movie but still had a hand in the 2005 SyFy basic cable channel production, "Wrath of the Dragon God."
     Solomon extended his license to Silver Pictures to produce a third movie, which came out in 2012.
     The movie, "The Book of Vile Darkness," was also shown for the first time on SyFy, and was at the root of the dispute over whether it was a television movie or a non-theatrical sequel.
     Hasbro claimed that as a television movie rights to the franchise reverted back to the toymaker under Sweetpea's license agreement.
     Though the stipulation only states the parties had dismissed the case in its entirety, Variety reports that Warner announced the new movie on Monday and that the parties had settled.
     Hasbro's law firm Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz issued the following statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter:
     "This settlement accomplished our overarching goal of unifying all Dungeons & Dragons rights under Hasbro's control, paving the way to make a blockbuster film. It's a great outcome for those involved - especially Dungeons & Dragons fans who will now get to see D&D on the big screen."