Wednesday, September 18, 2013

OPINION: Why the 'Dredd Day of Action' is Pointless

Roughly a year ago, Dredd hit cinemas in the UK to, well, quite a high level of success. It was the first 18-rated film to hit the #1 spot in a short while, and feedback was pretty good. Three to four months later, we hit the DVD/Blu-Ray release and it's almost impossible to find a copy in a supermarket by the end of the day, causing it to essentially sell-out. Yet with its relative flop in the US, the film never hit the target it had to greenlight a sequel.

Today, Rebellion launch their 'Dredd Day of Action' campaign launches, encouraging Dredd fans (and 2000AD readers) to stump up some cash on the comics, the film (not the '95 Stallone film which the current owners have denounced - despite the fact it's a more faithful, fun and enjoyable adaptation) and even special merchandise created just for today, in order to send a message that a Dredd sequel is wanted. Oy. No, really, that's basically the point. Buy this t-shirt that applies to a single day to tell someone you want a sequel! This comes off the back of a petition that circled social media which attempted to garner whether people were interested in a sequel.

Criticisms of the film aside, I just don't have faith that a Dredd sequel would be a good idea. The way the first film was handled essentially knee-capped it before it even hit cinemas, and that's arguably why it failed.

Firstly, an 18 rating heavily limits the interested group, especially in a country where comics are perceived to be for younger people (said people have obviously never picked up an issue of 2000AD), but it also cuts out a group of 2000AD's readership. And, really, the film could have been toned down to a 15 with very minor changes, and that would have definitely paid off in terms of opening it up to more viewers.

Secondly, the film released almost exclusively in 3D. 2D showings were in roughly 20 cinemas and on a highly restricted basis, I think it worked out about two or three showings a week compared to the four or five (at least) showings a day for the 3D version. 3D still isn't particularly accepted as a sole option, and by limiting it to just 3D for the majority of the country, it again closed itself to a number of viewers.

Thirdly, and finally, the stocks of home release copies were too low. Selling out may sound good, but in fact it's not a particularly good thing, because it puts a cap on the amount of money you can make that first day (if not week), and you need copies on display in order to shift them and raise awareness. No copies? No sales. No sales? No profit. No profit? Less chance of a sequel.

These three factors *in the UK alone* damaged the potential Dredd had to succeed, and that's visible in the fact it didn't hit the target for Dredd 2. If we had assurances that these three problems would be dealt with for the sequel, I think there would be a definite chance that it would succeed, and the benefits to the British film and comics industry would be huge.

But as it stands? No. Not at all. I don't think Dredd was a particularly good film, I don't think the casting was even close to strong (bar Lena Headey as Ma-Ma, but she essentially phoned it in anyway), the design was weak and really it just didn't work as a Judge Dredd film. But those are my opinions, and I seem to be in the minority in that, but they don't change the fact that Dredd's release was mishandled numerous times in numerous ways.

And that's why I think the campaign for a sequel is pointless. It doesn't address the issues at all.

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