Judgement will soon be delivered on Dredd, the forthcoming film reboot of the 2000AD character that Lionsgate will roll out the first screenings of at Comic Con in San Diego later this month. After what has clearly been such a troubled production (worst of all being director Pete Travis locked out of the editing room with post-production lasting for we’ll over a year as the execs tried to salvage what he had shot), the idea with the advanced roll-out is likely to leech off the generally excitable mood from the uber-geek audience at the festival, hoping that feeling will pave over any cracks in the film.
Dredd opens September 7th in the UK and September 21st in US cinemas but Lionsgate are gambling on positive word of mouth to carry those skeptics into the cinema, whose eyebrows are no doubt already raised by its odd release date. Late September is usually the prestige festival season, where movies have just played at Venice and Toronto and are about to roll out at New York and in cinemas and it’s an awfully odd time to release a summer blockbuster. Kind of like an after thought release date and that could be worrying for Lionsgate.
History is not too kind to films that have tried the same strategy at Comic Con. The overly positives reactions given to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Kick-Ass didn’t exactly carry that fire into a big box office openings and last year we saw Lionsgate open Ghost Rider 2 at AICN’s Butt-Numb-A-Thon festival and it was pissed on royally by the crowd who were supposed to embrace it.
Written by Sunshine and 28 Days Later writer Alex Garland (which pretty much guarantees the third act will be a disappointment), a grittier, more realistic, darker, more violent and visceral version of the campy 1995 B-movie actioner that starred Sylvester Stallone. That old chest nut of going back to the source material but how big is the audience pool for Dredd anyway?
Dredd stars Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey and Domhnall Gleeson and Lionsgate are figuring they really should start promoting the movie by now and have released this motion poster;