Thursday, 17 October 2013

Why Did DREDD Fail At The Box Office?

In the following essay I am going to compare the 2012 version of DREDD with the 2012 version of Batman The Dark Knight Rises and explain which film was  more successful and why –

Before 'DREDD' was even the mere idea of a blockbuster film, the character 'Judge Dredd' featured in British science-fiction comic books known as '2000 AD.' The characters first appearance was in the year of 1977. In 1995 the character made its debut on the big screen and was released globally. Many people, including critics, understand that the main reason for its lack of success is the fact that the character was not recognisable in any other country or even continent apart from the UK, as the comic books which it featured in had never been released anywhere else other than Britain and so in countries such as America, the character was virtually unknown, therefore the film did not attract large crowds to the cinema. The only reason the film did make an overall profit was the fact it featured well known actor Sylvester Stallone. Without his appearance, the film would most probably never have made the amount it did.
A futuristic police officer in armour and a helmet that covers all but his mouth stands on the corner of a building roof with a gun in his hand as large tower blocks burn behind him. Above the man reads a tagline "Judgment is Coming".
The DREDD DVD Cover and advertising poster
However, Batman was also a comic book star before being transported into the cinematic world. The time gap between the two characters is crucial as to why 'DREDD' failed and 'The Dark Knight Rises' succeeded. The first reason is that Batman has featured in hugely popular comic books (DC) which have been distributed around the globe since 1940, a substantial amount of time longer than 'Judge Dredd'. DC Comic books are also much more recognisable and popular than 2000 AD comic books, as DC comics are distributed to hundreds of countries across the planet, whereas 2000 AD comics are mainly distributed in the UK. These reason alone suggest why Batman is a more popular character and why 'The Dark Knight Rises' was so much successful than 'DREDD' at the box office - Batman has been a well-known, popular comic book character for a longer time than Judge Dredd, the character is also more recognisable to more people on the planet and so 'The Dark Knight Rises' was bound to be the more successful of the two films.

DREDD was in fact a British film and so had a vast amount of money less to spend on the likes of top, A list actors than the Dark Knight Rises. Although it did feature an experienced cast, none of them were stand out performers. The most recognisable in the film was New Zealander Karl Urban, who has featured in films such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as Star Trek and the Bourne Supremacy. However, both the producer and director decided to cover Urban's face with the famous DREDD helmet, and so Urban was almost unrecognisable to the audience throughout the entire film. This may have been another crucial reason as to why it failed miserably on its opening weekend. It is a common fact that big name actors attract audiences and boost the films advertising; therefore the overall popularity is increased. A list stars also give the film that certain 'wow factor' which audiences are looking for, by giving the audience this, the film is more likely to stick in their minds, as great actors are never forgotten. However, as DREDD did not feature any A list stars, it lacked that 'wow factor' and so was extremely likely to be overlooked by the audience, as although the film may have looked like it could be a 'good watch' without that star quality, audiences were just not as interested. On the other hand, the Dark Knight Rises had a star studded cast and featured the likes of Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman and Michael Cane, all of whom of are some of the most successful and well-known actors of the 20th/21st century. These hugely popular actors may have been another crucial reason as to why The Dark Knight Rises was so successful at the box office, as their names alone may have made the audience attracted to the film as typically films with these actors in are usually outstanding. Therefore, another reason as to why The Dark Knight Rises was much more successful than DREDD was because of the big name actors involved in the film.

The production team who worked on DREDD decided to include many graphic, violent and mature scenes throughout the film. These include sex scenes, drug usage and graphic violence. Although this style of film may have appealed to a number of people, it also potentially lost the film millions of pounds. The film was released as an 18, and therefore eliminated what could have been the films 'gold mine audience' by this i mean the younger audience, as it is a common fact that superhero style films are extremely popular with children and teenagers under the age of 18, rather than older audiences of 18 and above.
Dark Knight.jpg
The Dark Knight Rises DVD Cover and
advertising poster
However, although The Dark Knight Rises included a large amount of violence and mature themes such as terrorism, it was released as a 12A and so children, teenagers and adults could all go and watch the film, therefore it made a huge more amount of profit than DREDD.

Another reason why DREDD failed at the box office was due to the fact that the DREDD production team had spent a large amount of their budget on the special effects within the film, they decided to release it to cinema's in 3D only, as they believed it would captivate the audience and show them how much work, effort and money had gone into the creation of the special effects. This proved to be extremely unpopular with audiences globally, as although many people agree 3D is a great experience, many would argue that they prefer to watch a film in 2D with HD features. The Dark Knight Rises once again got the better of DREDD, as the production team decided to release the film to cinemas in both 2D and 3D, giving the audience the option of choosing which style of film they would be most suited to. Unlike DREDD, the option of 2D proved to be extremely popular with audiences globally, as The Dark Knight Rises had a large amount of money coming in from both 2D and 3D films, rather than just 3D. This is yet another crucial error for DREDD and another reason why The Dark Knight Rises was so much more successful.

As mentioned before, prior to DREDD a 1995 adaptation of the virtually unknown comic book character titled 'Judge Dredd' was released. Although this version made an overall profit on it's opening weekend, it was given many negative reviews from critics and was only given an average rating of 3.7/10. These statistics make it clear that 'Judge Dredd' was not very popular in 1995. However, 17 years later and another version of 'Judge Dredd' was released, however it was clear to see that the memories of the horrific '95 version was still present in the minds of audiences worldwide. This clearly gave millions of people across the globe negative visions of what the new version titled DREDD would be like, this is another reasons which suggests why DREDD failed at the box office.
However, The Dark Knight Rises did not have this problem. As Batman has been an established, popular comic book character which has been recognised globally since the 1940's and so many different versions of Batman films have appeared in cinemas. Films such as 'Batman' 'Batman Returns' and 'Batman and Robin' all made a good amount of profit and were films which were enjoyed by audiences because of their 'comic book style' However, in 2005, Christopher Nolan took over the role of the Batman director and completely re-branded the character into a dark, misunderstood, crime fighting character that audiences have been crying out for, for years. The Nolan trilogy is to date one of the most successful superhero trilogies of all time. Therefore upon its release, The Dark Knight Rises was of course popular with audiences not only because it was the third and final installment of the Nolan trilogy, but also because of previous films which were popular and successful. These are other clear reasons as to why DREDD failed and the Dark Knight Rises succeeded.

Overall, DREDD took a total of $45 million to make, however it only grossed a total of $36.5 million upon its release, therefore the film was in a large amount of debt after its opening weekend and was of course branded as 'unsuccessful' and possibly was one of the worst superhero remakes of all time.
However, as The Dark Knight Rises was an American film, it took a total of $185 million to make, a vast amount more than DREDD. However, although it had a larger budget and spent more to make, the results were extremely successful and proved to be the right decision. The reason for this is because on its opening weekend, The Dark Knight Rises grossed a staggering total of $1,004,558,444, a titanic amount more than DREDD. From these figures alone we can see why The Dark Knight Rises was so much more successful at the box office and why it succeeded. We can also see why DREDD was so unpopular and why it did not manage to make any sort of profit upon its opening release.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent introduction which contextualizes the films background BUT it needs to be shorter and more concise. You also need to answer the question directly.

    Be specific about film budgets and box office. Link star power to MArk Kermode's thoughts on blockbusters.

    If you'd established what qualifies as success your point about star ratings would have much more validity.

    You need to include details on distribution patterns, screens (think 2D v 3D) and audience types. Try and link Batman more directly to Dredd and include details about the studios behind the production.

    You also forget to mention the Britishness of the film. That is essential in the exam to demonstrate your comparative skills.

    Argument 10/25
    Evidence 10/25

    20/50 E-