Dredd 3D: 5 Reasons Why It Flopped At The Box Office
Theory 1: Irksome Concepts and the Shadow of Sly
From the off, Dredd was always going to be a tough sell, at least in terms of the all-important US market. The Dredd strip depicted a wry, British view of America gone to hell; inspired by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, but set in the future, Dredd is the logical extreme of hard-line policing. Was it a tall order expecting American audiences to be interested in an outsider's half satirical idea of a post-holocaust metropolis, governed by an army of state executioners? It isn't like we hadn't been there before. As much as Dredd fans want to forget the Sylvester Stallone movie of '95, it casts a very long shadow. Judge Dredd was a previous attempt to bring the character to the big screen; with a far greater budget and an over plotted storyline it also failed miserably on release. At least that one made $20 million on its opening weekend (peanuts next to its $100 million-plus budget) - and that was in 1995. In 2012, Dredd 3D made a tenth of that figure on opening. Stallone's version infamously shed Dredd of the iconic helmet - absolutely forbidden in the comic - and even added a love interest. DNA Films said from the start they weren't going to make the same compromises. As much as the production remained true to those cornerstones of the comic, they made changes in other areas - specifically with the design of Mega-City One, Dredd's stomping ground and very much a character in its own right. In Dredd, Mega-City One is seen as an exaggerated version of a large urban sprawl, shot through a murky miasma of pollution and decay. This is in contrast to the city of the comics, where the dazzling organic architecture is shown alongside crass billboards and a population of bored, unpredictable citizens. Flying vehicles, robots and banal entertainments are very much part of the fabric of Mega-City One on the page. Dredd opted for a more realistic world - but maybe a colourful, eccentric metropolis might have offered an interesting counterpoint to the bleak setting. After all, it works that way in the printed stories...
Ian Terry is a designer, writer and artist living somewhere in the leafy outskirts of North London. He'd previously worked in the games business, from humble 8-bit beginnings on to PC and console titles.
Ian is the author of two novels and is currently employed as a writer for the designer menswear industry. Since the age of ten, he's been strangely preoccupied with the movies and enjoys writing about them.