Dredd: Why Hollywood won’t make a sequel to this Cult Classic

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Michael Payne



How can I do a post about movie trailers without including Dredd.


In 2012, Lionsgate released Dredd, the newest film adaptation of the classic British comic Judge Dredd. It starred Karl Urban as Judge Dredd, Lena Headley as Madeline Madrigal (Ma-Ma), Olivia Thirlby as Judge Cassandra Anderson and Wood Harris as Kay. The movie was shot in 3D with a budget of just $45 million, far below most Hollywood blockbusters. The movie came with much hype and fanfare and despite rating 78% on Rotten Tomatoes.com, it performed poorly at the box office, only making $41 million, well below expected returns.

Judge Dredd Comic

The Judge we all deserve!


First things first, lets talk about the 1995 Judge Dredd film starring  Sylvester Stallone. That movie was horrible, we all know it. The major problem with the movie was Stallone tried making it a vehicle to showcase Stallone the superstar instead of staying true to the comics character. Stallone decided to spend a majority the movie without wearing Dredds trademark helmet. That was the whole point of Judge Dredd! His ambiguity towards crime! He was judge, jury and executioner and did it all with little or no feeling. Which leads me to the way Stallone played the Judge Dredd. Again Stallone decided to play the character with a campy, comic flare which is a slap in the face to the no non-sense and stern faced comic book anti-hero. Stallone used it as a way to flex more muscle, get more laughs and eat up more screen time. But I’m not here to bash Sylvester Stallone, I’m actually a big fan of his. I just don’t like the part of his career where the movies was less about the story and character development and more about himself.



Skip ahead to 2012 and Karl Urbans portrayal of Judge Dredd. There’s a saying in the sports world about players being “in the zone”; when an athlete is so in tune with what’s happening to them during the game, they are almost impossible to stop. That was Karl Urban in Dredd. Simply put, Karl Urban WAS Judge Dredd. From his dead pan, emotionless delivery to the profound snarl that Karl carried throughout the movie, Karl Urban played the title character was well as any Shakespearean actor. I like my movies dark and gritty, even the comedies and Dredd delivered on every count. I didn’t see the movie in the theatre, I can’t really say why. But once I saw the movie on DVD, I snatched it up. I probably watched that movie 10 times in a row and could have watched it 11. There wasn’t a dull moment in the movie and that includes the interrogation scenes. If you are looking for some deep social statement or hidden agendas, you’ve come to the wrong place. Dredd is blood and guts and corny one-liners and hot chicks in tight outfits and I loved every minute of it! Plus it has one of the most beautiful death scenes on film. (Spoiler Alert) When Judge Dredd confronts Ma-Ma on the top floor of her slum mansion, he forces her to inhale the drug Slo-Mo. He then tosses her out the window, down to the atrium 200 floors below. In reality, the journey down probably took less than a minute but for Ma-Ma, it was an excruciating long journey to her death. It is the most artistic death scene I have ever seen!


It’s been 3 years since Dredd was released and there are no signs that there will be a sequel. According to screenwriter Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine),”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…they’re [studio heads] moved by other stuff, other equations, other algorithms.”(1) To put this into perspective, Grownups starring Adam Sandler, rated a lowly 10% on Rotten Tomatoes.com, was green-lit for the sequel Grownups 2, which rated an even lower 7%. But Grownups and Grownup 2 made a combined $518 million dollars! That’s a half a billion dollars people! Adam Sandler films may be widely panned by critics but fans continue to flock to theaters to see his movies and so they are going to continue to make them. You gotta love democracy.


It’s frustrating to see Hollywood continuously making sequels or reboots for some movie franchise just to squeeze another buck out of the consumers. But when a movie actually warrants a sequel, it gets passed up due to monetary reasons. Since the release of Dredd in 2012, it has since become a cult classic, adored by scores of fans. There’s a Facebook (100,846 Likes) and Twitter (6,456 Followers) account, both dedicated to seeing a sequel getting made. I get it, it would be a huge financial gamble for Lionsgate to make Dredd 2. It took a significant loss with the first film and wiser people than myself don’t see the benefits of making another one. Maybe I’m just being selfish because I loved Dredd so much or maybe it’s because I constantly see the grumblings from fellow Dredd fans, but I see a large market for Dredd 2. But the farther we get away from 2012, the less likely a sequel will get made. And that is an unfortunate loss for Hollywood…and myself!