I have sent an e-mail to IM Global and DNA Films concerning the possibility of a sequel to Alex Garland’s Dredd. I discussed this very matter earlier on this Blog and you can find the e-mail addresses at the bottom of that article.
I hope I followed most of my advice.
I have asked for permission to publish copies of any response I receive, I have also invited direct response to this article. Of course as I say in the e-mail itself I do understand that given the amount of correspondence they receive I may not get any reply.
In the interest of fairness if I do not receive permission to publish a response I receive I will at the very least let you know I received a response.
Below is the body of my e-mail in its entirety.
I am writing to you regarding the marvelous Dredd film that Alex Garland brought to us last year.
I’m a fan of 2000AD and particularly Judge Dredd and I run a small blog that I do comic, book, film, TV, etc reviews. The blog was first set up for a play by forum role-playing game that never took off. After seeing Dredd 3D for the first time I decided to do a review of my experience and the blog took off from there. I will be reproducing this letter on my blog so that my readers know what I have said in my communication to you.
I was fortunate enough to win the opportunity to see the film prior to release in London via a competition 2000AD ran on Twitter. You can see my reaction on the blog here. It was a marvelous experience that will remain with me for many years to come. But as a Dredd fan it could have been a huge let down, if Alex Garland had missed the mark.
Talking to Alex after the screening, among a group of fans as equally dedicated to the character as depicted in the comic, it was wonderful to hear more about the making of the film as well as Alex’s ideas for sequels.
Interestingly the look of the city and the Judges is something that many people misunderstood. Many of the comic fans, myself included, don’t have high regard for the Stallone film. The media always seem to concentrate on the ‘helmet’ issue. The uniform was closer to the comic version in that earlier film than in Alex’s version. But it wasn’t the removal of the helmet that caused the biggest issues, it was the great divergence from the character of Dredd and his world.
That is the success of Alex’s film. He took Dredd from the panels of a comic and translated the character of the man, the Justice Department and the world on to the screen.
More casual fans seem to have had more hang ups that the uniforms were different, that the city blocks were not as organic as many artists draw them and that the citizens were not as ‘way-out’ as in the comic. In particular this may have alienated some of the fans of the Stallone film who had read little or none of the original material.
Support for this film was and remains incredibly high among core fans of 2000AD as is obvious on the 2000AD forum. The fact that Alex had met with John Wagner and taken in to account his thoughts on the dialogue was heartening to us. I for one did not seek out the leaked script, I hate spoilers preferring to see a film as blind as possible. But to hear high praise from John Wagner and others was important in the early stages of the film’s production.
Alex engaged the fans but didn’t pamper to us. He did an excellent job.
I will digress here to also point out the huge interest generated by the fan film Judge Minty. If you look at my blog you will see I have written a lot on that film, including several interviews with cast and crew. Long term fans such as myself can embrace two very different films because both retain key elements of theme with the source material. The fans are most certainly not blinkered.
Given all I have said one must then ask, ‘why was the box-office so low?’.
The simplest answer to this is the misconceptions of the general cinema going public. Secondary to this is the increasing dissatisfaction with 3D.
The general cinema going public are not as well versed in Dredd as those of us that have read 2000AD for 36 years, obviously I’m not ignoring fellow readers that didn’t read Prog 2 in 1977. But simply put the core fan base is well educated that Dredd offers a huge opportunity for very different stories. There can be comedies, tragedies, thrillers, high-octane action, etc. But more casual readers or fans of the Stallone film are more likely to expect a story with sweeping scope.
The tight action and character driven plot in Dredd was perfect for the comic fans but perhaps was a little unexpected for the other viewers. But the main issue here was that perhaps the trailers didn’t quite sell the film to those that didn’t pas through the box-office. Though as I said earlier I hate spoilers I was still looking at the publicity. As I knew what was going on from the 2000AD forum I was better informed than those that were not.
Some research suggests that up to 70% of cinema goers prefer 2D films, or have difficulty seeing 3D. In fact the Eycare Trust revealed this year that 12% of the population cannot see 3D films for one reason or another. An article on SFX’s blog by Steven Ellis showed that of their readers more than 46% strongly disliked 3D and over 26% of the readers couldn’t watch 3D films. Personally I usually opt to see a 2D screening as most 3D films just go for the ‘ooo look it is coming towards you’ shot.
This said, and with to my understanding only 29 cinemas showing any 2D screenings, I saw the film in 3D, I saw it at least 6 times, once in London as stated at the opening of this e-mail and five times as a paying customer. The 3D Anthony Dod Mantel brought to this film was exquisite and was used wonderfully alongside the slow motion. Those that saw the film mostly embraced the 3D. It is just a big shame that there wasn’t that 2D option for others to take advantage of. The plot of the film actually utilised the 3D and slow motion, in my opinion it was an artistic triumph.
The DVD/Blu-ray release of the film does surely show that after the fact the film has entered a wider consciousness of the potential audience. It is a shame that the Blu-ray came with a forced 3D opt-in, it would have been interesting to see how many opted out given that 3D TV sales appear to still be increasing.
I strongly believe that if Alex is able to return to Judge Dredd as a topic and bring us one or more sequels the box-office takings would be higher and DVD/Blu-ray sales either as successful or indeed higher, clearly some people that didn’t go to the cinema to watch this film will not have bought the DVD/Blu-ray even though they would enjoy the film if they were to do so. I also think the project would be best with the return of Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby.
Clearly I understand that there is an audience for 3D films but I would suggest that evidence shows a greater success would come from mixed screenings at all or most cinemas. As the film has now been seen by a much wider audience that passed through the box-office the public would understand the publicity better.
I hope a sequel is not beyond hope.
I would be very grateful if I received a response from this missive, though I understand the volume of correspondence you must receive. I have given advice to my readers of how and how not to approach communicating with you on this matter. With your permission I would also like to put any response I received from you on to my blog so that my readers can see what you communicated to me. Of course your response directly on the blog itself would speak volumes to my readers.