Dredd struggles at US box office

News Simon Brew
24 Sep 2012 - 06:39

Dredd 2 isn't dead, but it's just got a whole lot harder...

Having hit the number one spot at the British box office on its release earlier this month, there were real hopes that Dredd would be able to make a good impact at the US box office too, when it hit Stateside cinemas last Friday. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Dredd's weekend box office tally in the States makes for grim reading. Predictions ahead of the weekend were pessimistic, with an expected $10m opening. But the film even fell short of that, with a take of $6.3m. It'll do well to get to $20m at the American box office in total now. Basically, Dredd fans turned up, but pretty much no one else did.

Things worked against Dredd in the end. It was one of four new films that were opening, with horror The House At The End Of The Street winning a weak weekend. Also, Dredd is a lesser known character in America, and the kind of marketing campaign required to turn that around was never financially on the cards. Finally, there was the hard-R rating, and you do wonder if Dredd's US performance means it'll be a while before we get a gamble of its ilk again. Expect more PG-13 comic book movies at this rate, Kick-Ass 2 aside.

So, is Dredd done and dusted, and are chances of a sequel dead?

Well, no it's not, and no they're not. It's just things are more difficult now. However, Dredd garnered generally positive reviews, and there are many territories around the world where the film has yet to open. So far, it's made about £3m in the UK, and added a bit more in Spain. In fact, its staggered release means it'll be opening in more territories for most of the next month. It doesn't matter where the film makes it money, as long as it makes it. And Dredd is still a modestly priced production, with a lower than usual break even point.

It may yet be that it's the DVD and Blu-ray release that proves crucial here. Or it might be that those American numbers have inflicted a fatal blow on the chances of Dredd 2. We'll wait and see, but, while the weekend figures were undoubtedly disappointing (writer Alex Garland had said a $50m US take would basically trigger the sequel), there might just be life in Dredd yet. Hope so, anyway.

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