C'mon Hollywood: Give us a Dredd sequel!
Last September a little comic book action pic called DREDD 3D hit theaters with a thud, leaving the prospects of a sequel in the “never gonna happen” category. Although most folks who caught the film seemed to really enjoy it, word of mouth did little to up its numbers at the box office, leaving little hope of seeing the further exploits of Judge Dredd in the rebooted incarnation on the big screen again. But, then something happened. DVD and Blu-ray sales went through the roof, initially selling 650,000 units upon release, making it the best-selling new release of 2013 and has continued to maintain a spot on the charts since. Like many films that fail to connect to audiences in theaters, DREDD 3D has proven that there’s an audience for the franchise.
But, is that enough? Poor box office, good home video sales, and a niche audience aren’t the best set-up to greenlight a sequel. But, don’t worry, there will be a fourth ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS movie. And, perhaps that’s the most disheartening aspect of it all. There’s a long string of movies that, minus box office receipts, are generally regarded as craptastic affairs, but still managed to shovel in enough cash to merit a follow-up. So, where does that leave films like DREDD 3D? Well, for starters, it’s an uphill climb, but that doesn’t mean it can’t “make it to the top.”
It’s still been less than a year since DREDD 3D hit theaters, so some may argue that it may still be early in the game to start another one. However, when looking at how fast many sequels are greenlit (such as MAN OF STEEL), it’s been a lengthy timeframe for DREDD 3D to be sitting in limbo. Since it’s initial run, everyone from director Pete Travis, screenwriter Alex Garland, star Karl Urban, and even Lionsgate have made comments about the possibility of a sequel to the film, but most of them hinge on the word “hope” or “possibility” which is hardly an assurance. And, that’s reasonable given the marketplace.
However, the longer they delay making a follow up, the further we get from it actually happening. Travis, Garland, and Urban aren’t going to put their careers on hold for “hope” of a sequel, which is understandable. The Facebook page “Make a DREDD sequel” recently posted a quote from an unnamed industry source, who said “DNA will know in the next few weeks whether the important DVD/Blu-ray sales have boosted the overall profits on the movie enough to consider a sequel. Tell everyone to start their letter writing and sharing of the film in earnest as this could be the last chance for a number of years or never!" As a result, DVD and Blu-ray sales spiked, which is yet another indicator that there’s more than a passing interest in a sequel, which is indicated by the language that Hollywood speaks; money.
But, is it enough money? And, beyond that, are the principals still interested? Garland has said that he has a DREDD trilogy mapped out, while director Pete Travis has said he doesn’t think he’d be involved. Urban, who positively owned the character of Judge Dredd, has maintained his hold on the role if the possibility ever arises. With that being said, it seems that it will take more than a few stars to align to make a DREDD 3D sequel happen, but that certainly doesn’t make it impossible. For me, DREDD 3D felt like the ROBOCOP sequel we never got: Tough, brutal, cheeky, and fun with more than enough nods to the source material to make it a viable and faithful entry in the comic book genre.
There are few things they can do the help push a sequel through and I think if the studio heeds them it will help make the possibility of a DREDD 3D sequel a reality.
First up, they need to drop the 3D. It was cool enough in the theater, but totally unnecessary. Minus the slo-mo sequences, I barely noticed it. Secondly (and obviously), Urban must be DREDD. Otherwise, just drop it. Next, the studio should consider a dual VOD/theatrical release. Blashphemy? Hear me out. With much of the audience finding the film on home video to begin with, it would make sense to appeal to that, while still giving the die-hard fans an opportunity to see it on the big screen as well. Lastly, they have to keep the hard-R rating intact. A watered down, PG-13 DREDD goes against any reasoning to have a sequel in the first place.
DREDD may be the “little engine that could” in terms of hit movies and that’s okay. Naturally, studios aren’t going to put money into a sinking ship if they can avoid it, but I think DREDD has proven that it has the stamina to pull in the profit, while appeasing a niche crowd. Keeping a sequel to DREDD 3D simple, tightly budgeted, and consistent with the hard-edged violent affair that was the original is the key to success. With an ever-growing fan base and strong home video sales, I think DREDD 3D has earned its justice, which comes in the form of the only sentence possible: Sequel.
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|Extra Tidbit:||If not Pete Travis, who would you like to see direct a sequel to Dredd?|