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The Real Reasons Why Dredd 2 Never Happened

The Real Reasons Why Dredd 2 Never Happened

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Perhaps one of the most tragic cases of poor marketing, Dredd is as unique as action movies can be. Featuring cool visuals and gripping storytelling, this is the live-action version of Judge Dredd fans wanted to see for decades.

However, for reasons beyond director Pete Travis’ control, Dredd 2 never came to be. Considering Hollywood’s love for sequels, Dredd is one of the rare cases where a film just vanishes without a continuation.

Despite the support from the cast and fans, the sequel to Dredd seems as unlikely now as it did a decade ago. But the real tragedy is that the opportunity for a franchise slipped through the cracks due to circumstances outside the creative team’s control.

But why did Dredd 2 never happen? Amid financial difficulties and a terrible marketing campaign, it’s a miracle we even remember the film at all. Let’s take a look at why Dredd 2 might never be.

The Film Bombed at the Box Office

Dredd‘s poor box office numbers are the main reason why the sequel was never made. Filmed on a $50 million budget, Dredd only made around $41 million globally. The potential Dredd franchise was dead in the water from a financial standpoint.

Curiously enough, critics were enthusiastic about the film. Perhaps rarely for an action flick, Dredd was getting positive feedback all across the board. Most critics commended the film’s gritty aesthetic, not to mention Karl Urban’s stoic performance as the titular Dredd.

Judge Dredd holding up his gun in Dredd

Even though the film would later become sought after in the home video market, it was too late for Dredd. Lionsgate would never produce a sequel to such a catastrophically terrible flop – even though it was mostly the marketing team’s fault.

Dredd had a Terrible Marketing Campaign

The marketing team tried to sell Dredd as a 3D film – at a time when audiences were getting tired of the gimmick. At first, Dredd was known as Dredd 3D to bank on the “popular” technology.

That said, Dredd was released three years after Avatar. When the film got its home release, it dropped the “3D” subtitle entirely. Even now, most people simply call the movie “Dredd,” ignoring that the three-dimensional aspect ever existed.

This misguided marketing attempt might be to blame for Dredd‘s poor box office performance. Ironically, the 3D parts of the film were well-received by fans. Even now, in the r/movies subreddit, users comment that Dredd was “one of the few movies that used 3D as a part of visual story telling rather than a gimmick.”

Could a Dredd Sequel Ever Be Released?

Likely, we’ll never get a Dredd 2 – at least, according to screenwriter Alex Garland. In an interview with IGN, Garland expressed his thoughts on the possibility of Dredd 2. And it wasn’t good news for fans.

When asked if he thought the sequel was “dead,” Garland replied: “As far as I’m concerned? Yeah, it is.” This happened during Dredd‘s home video revival when fans still rallied for online petitions for Dredd 2.

That said, last year saw the most promising updates for Dredd 2 in years. According to Giant Freakin Robot, Dredd 2 – with Karl Urban in the lead – is in production. Urban has been outspoken in his support for a sequel, so if Dredd 2 ever happens, he’ll likely reprise his role.

Rebellion, developers of the Sniper Elite video games – and owners of the Dredd IP – have also supported the series through the years. In 2017, they announced plans to produce Judge Dredd: Mega-City One. While the series was never officially canceled, production setbacks and the COVID pandemic paralyzed the production.

Jason Kingsley, Rebellion’s CEO, is an avid fan of the Dredd franchise. Last year, he confirmed to Sports Illustrated that Dredd 2 was moving forward. However, he also noted that “We’re making progress. But it’s slow, slow, slow,” concluding that “There’s nothing to announce yet.

The Dredd fandom is as active as ever. So while the possibility of a Dredd 2 seems distant, at least we know that those responsible for the IP are making progress towards the long-awaited sequel. It might feel like we’re on slo-mo, but we’ll have to wait a bit more before seeing Karl Urban suiting up as Judge Dredd once again.