Dredd's last stand?

Feature Simon Brew
15 Jan 2013 - 06:14

As Dredd arrives on DVD and Blu-ray, here's our last chance to give the film the commercial success it deserves...

It remains, several months after the film was released in cinemas, one of the most horribly disappointing movie-related moments we experienced in 2012. We're talking about the time when the box office results for Dredd came in, and it became clear that a very ambitious, very accomplished project had, commercially at least, failed. Given that the talk before the film's US release was that a $50m take would kickstart a sequel, the movie's eventual $13.4m gross in America was a massive disappointment. 

Granted, there were contributory factors. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the US promotional push was poor (we're in the UK, so can't effectively judge that). Conversely, in the UK, the promotion was far better, and perhaps inevitably, its British box office money that made up a good chunk of Dredd's eventual $32m worldwide cinematic take. But, for the time being at least, there's no arguing with the numbers. The majority of people who saw Dredd seemed to really like it, but there simply weren't enough bums on seats.

Dredd isn't a perfect film. It has problems, and its coincidental parallels to the excellent The Raid have been well documented. But Dredd is nonetheless a respectful, quality, hard-edged comic book adaptation, boasting some excellent, non-showy performances. It deserved a far better fate.

And now, it has a chance to get one.

Dredd has now been released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK and the US, and this is the film's major chance to turn things around. It's a big ask, but there are still many examples of films that had non-notable box office runs and yet the home release went onto greater things. Take the first Austin Powers movie. It was the film's sizeable home video release that led to a cinematic sequel, not the initial box office run.

Dredd, then. We're pretty confident that over the next ten to 20 years, Dredd will continue to build up an audience, particularly as more and more comic book adaptations aggressively target the PG-13 audience. This is a film that's going to be talked about and enjoyed for a long time to come.

However, for those interested in seeing where the likes of Alex Garland and Karl Urban can take the character next, this is the big, final chance for this iteration of Dredd to get a second bite. Thus - and we're putting our money where our mouth is here - over the next few weeks, can we ask that if you're in any way interested in the film, to support it? To buy or rent the disc, or rent it using an on-demand service? Just something to show those who funded the film that there's life in the Dredd movie universe yet?

For those frustrated by the lack of 2D screenings of Dredd in the UK in particular (the 3D push was pretty much blanket over here), here's the chance to support the film.

We fear, if this doesn't happen, that a moment will have been lost, if it hasn't gone already. Dredd 2 was reportedly set to see Urban's Dredd traverse the Cursed Earth. Dredd 3 would have brought the Dark Judges. There was even talk of a Dredd television show. None of these things, as everything stands at the moment, are going to happen, and it's going to take a groundswell of support in the next few months to make people sit up and take notice.

Without that, this take on Dredd, and more than likely any chance of someone else having a go ten to 15 years down the line, will be gone. And that, surely, would be tragic.

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