2012 brought movie goers our best possible chance at watching a decent adaptation of the 2000 A.D. title comic book, Dredd, with Pete Travis directing and lead actor Karl Urban starring, and the reviews consistently poured in to base claim appropriately. Unfortunately, the film commercially faltered and while some say this was due to bad advertising, others suggest that it probably suffered from the longstanding stigma behind its less-than-exemplary predecessor in 1995 with actor Sylvester Stallone at the time.
Nevertheless, social media became the ultimate tool for fans of Urban‘s performance seeking a sequel and any and all updates have pointed minimal, yet hopeful signs that another would come eventually. Blurbs from tge filmmakers, Urban, lead actress Olivia Thirlby and even as recently as executive producer Adi Shankar have kept the movement going while other inspired content creators have lended their efforts to maintain the continued tone of Travis’s film in their respective efforts with various webseries and shortfilm projects you can now find online. Of course, there was also the matter of understanding the business end of it which Shankar himself explained his own video discussing how film financing works and the challenges that await funding a sequel when its first film fails at the box office, all the while insisting that we at least keep the collective conversation online going so that we can help make Dredd 2 a reality.
Well, on Wednesday, that all came to a gut-wrenching screeching halt in an otherwise devastating report from i09 on the matter illustrating a recent statement from screenwriter Alex Garland who said the following:
There isn’t, as far as I can tell, going to be a Dredd sequel. The basic mechanics of film financing say that if you make a film that loses a ton of money, you’re not going to get a sequel. And that’s basically what happened.
And I understand and appreciate the support the film has had, and the campaigns that have existed for it, and it’s really genuinely gratifying — I love it in all respects except one, which is when I hear about people buying copies of the DVD in order to boost sales and to change the figures. And what I want to say to them is, “Don’t do that. Keep your money.” Because the people that are making the decisions are much colder and harder than that. And the graphs they’re looking at are not really going to be sufficiently dented by that.
So the support for the film is truly appreciated. But if there is going to be a sequel, it’s not going to be me and the team of people who worked on the previous film, it’s going to be another bunch of people. And good luck to them, and I hope it happens. I really do. I hope they do a better job than we did.
Thinking about it, it does make sense that this film was unlikely to happen as the current film climate is pretty rough these days, and while few films that do fail succeed at a sequel for some reason or another in special cases, the mechanics of financing a movie are just ridiculous, generally. Needless to say though, it really does hurt that a second installment, whether or not it would be in sequel or prequel form, will never see the light of day. Dredd came at a time when R-rated action movies were becoming a dying breed fighting for their existence with Expendables-hype in the wake of vast comic book movie lore and YA novel fandom for PG-13 audiences, and if you keep up with movies, you can guess which rating guarantees the most money…hence, the dwindling prevalence of big-scale R-rated actioners as of late.
At best, no matter how you feel or what you think led to this, Dredd will ultimately go down in history as a sheer example of why you should never lose sight of a good thing. Having said that, in my humble opinion, “good” is a word that understates just how amazing this movie is, and indeed, time will tell if another director will manage to “do a better job” as Garland expresses. Because as it stands, the next director will have his/her work cut out for them.
On a seperate note, Mad Max: Fury Road was just granted an R-rating today by the MPAA. Reviews are imminent, so do pay attention, and lets grant THAT film a chance at sequel glory if so deserved. Just sayin.