While Dredd was not a box office success - it made $35 million worldwide against a $50 million production budget - its popularity has only grown since its release. It's fair to say that the film has something of a cult fanbase at this point, a fanbase that would very much like to see a sequel with Karl Urban returning as the grim, fascist, and yet still kind of lovable Judge Dredd.
After Dredd did pretty well on DVD and Blu-ray, there was some glimmer of hope that Dredd 2 might come to fruition. We've seen other glimmers from the producer of the film, from Karl Urban himself. But the reality is, a sequel was always going to be a highly unlikely prospect. Movies that lose money during their theatrical run - with very few exceptions - just do not go on to produce sequels.The screenwriter for Dredd, Alex Garland, seems to have come to the conclusion that Dredd isn't one of the exceptions. While talking to Collider about his new film Ex Machina, he all but said that Dredd 2 would never happen.
First, Garland talked about his general feelings regarding Dredd, its financial failure, and its beloved cult status, saying:
"The 'Dredd' thing is a surprise. It’s a really complicated set of emotions. I have a lot of regret about how things worked out with 'Dredd,' but it’s very gratifying. The regret it - you do a kind of transaction, particularly with the creators of it, which is that we want to do this thing and honor what you did, and try to do it properly, and then the film will reward that trust. That act of faith and trust and decency. And I think that the film rewarded them in one sense, but not in another. I do believe it rewarded them creatively, unless they’re lying to me about that. But I think it has created this thing of this movie that fails. The story of 'Dredd' is that of a failed movie. Both times, for f**k’s sake. And to be party to that, when that was exactly the intention—to not do that - is kind of difficult."
The first Judge Dredd movie - starring Sylvester Stallone as the titular judge - probably didn't make much money either, but it actually wasn't as unsuccessful as its follow-up. The 1995 film was made on a $90 million production budget and made $113 million worldwide. Since Dredd was produced to be a cheaper, more barebones version (that was more true to the source material in some ways), it probably stings quite a bit that it may have doomed the franchise even more.
Still, there is an upside - Dredd was far more well-received, both critically and among fans, than its predecessor. And though it only came out three years ago, it already feels like it'll have more staying power in the pop cultural zeitgeist. That's probably cold comfort at the moment, but decades from now, it'll surely be gratifying.
Garland then went on to basically tell Dredd's adoring fans to give up hope on the sequel, saying:
" [...] I also feel a sense of responsibility because I know there are these people who do this stuff like they’ve got money and they spend money on a DVD to try and up the chance of a sequel getting made. Because I don’t have an online profile or persona or anything like that I can’t speak to these people directly, but what I want to say is that’s so good of you, and thank you, but keep your money because the people who make the decisions don’t get moved by that kind of thing. They’re moved by other stuff, other equations, other algorithms.
"How can I say this without being soppy? It’s touching. It means something that these people support the film in that way, but the thing people want, which is a sequel, I don’t think is going to happen. I think it will happen (let me rephrase that) I don’t think it’s happening with me and the people who made the last one."
His point there at the end seems to be that Judge Dredd will almost certainly get another movie someday - as every branded property eventually seems to - it just won't be anytime soon, and it won't be a sequel to Dredd with Karl Urban.
What do you think, Screen Ranters? Does it bum you out that Alex Garland has given up hope on Dredd 2? Do you agree with his conclusion that it's pretty much a lost cause? Drop us a line in the comments.
And stay tuned for more Dredd 2 news as (or if) it becomes available.