Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Why Did DREDD Fail At The Box Office? (New and improved version)

There are many reasons as to why 'DREDD' failed so miserably at the box office and why 'The Dark Knight Rises' succeeded. The first reason arises from the British comic book titled '2000 AD.' This particular comic book handed the brand new superhero 'Judge Dredd' its debut in the year 1977. However, 2000 AD comic books were not at all popular or even recognized on the world stage as they were only distributed across the UK. This may be a huge factor as to why 'DREDD' failed at the box office - people from countries or nations other than the UK had never heard of the character and so were simply not interested in watching a film containing it as the main role, this is the first reason why 'DREDD' failed. However, there are also many reasons as to why 'The Dark Knight Rises' was so successful at its box office. Like Judge Dredd, Batman started out as a comic book character, however there is a key and crucial difference between the two. The character of Batman first entered the comic book world in 1940 in 'DC comic books.' unlike 2000 AD, DC comic books were distributed worldwide and so a larger number of people recognized the characters which featured in the book itself, as Batman was one of these characters, audiences were much more likely to watch 'The Dark Knight Rises' upon its release, simply because they already knew the character 'inside -out' This is the first reason as to why 'The Dark Knight Rises' was so successful at the box office.

The second reason why DREDD failed was due to the fact that DREDD is 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 recognizable 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 unrecognizable to the audience throughout the entire film. This may have been another crucial reason as to why it failed so 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. Unfortunately for DREDD, it lacked the presence of a big name star and so did not have the popularity it so desperately needed.
The Dark Knight Rises on the other hand 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. 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 third reason as to why DREDD failed at the box office is due to the fact that the production team decided to include many graphic, violent and mature scenes throughout the film, in order to market the film at an older/adult audience.The scenes included were; sex scenes, drug usage scenes as well as graphic violence scenes. 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.
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 as it appealed and was watched by a larger audience.

The failure of DREDD was not only down to the fact it was not 'child friendly' but because it's attempts to make the film appear American or 'non-British' backfired. DREDD in fact qualifies as a British film and was filmed mainly on location at the London based studio 'DNA films'. The production team behind DREDD decided to make the film appear American in an attempt to highlight their efforts on the special effects (as American films often spend more on special effects because they have larger budgets than British films) as well as lose the stereotypical British 'comedy loving' audience. This quiet obviously backfired as it simply did not appeal to a British or American audience. British audiences stereo-typically enjoy films which they themselves can relate to and laugh at e.g. Bridget Jones' Diary, DREDD did not fit into this category. However, although the American audience stereo-typically enjoy superhero style films with high budget explosions etc. DREDD did not appeal to this audience either, as it was not up to the standards which American made superhero films had set e.g. the explosions were not big enough, the sets were not impressive enough.

The fifth 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.The film was shot digitally and primarily in 3D using RED MX, SI2K and Phantom Flex high-speed cameras, multiple camera rigs were also used.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.

There is yet another reason as to why DREDD failed at the box office. Prior to DREDD, a 1995 adaptation of the virtually unknown comic book character titled 'Judge Dredd' was released to the worldwide audience. 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. To qualify as a successful film it would have had to pick up at least 6.5 out of the possible 10 and make an overall profit.  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 were 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 reason 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 recognized globally since the 1940's and so many different versions of Batman films have appeared in cinemas over the years. Films such as 'Batman' 'Batman Returns' and 'Batman and Robin' all made a respectable 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 legend 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. The Dark Knight Rises also received a rating of 8.5/10 as well as making a huge amount of profit, therefore making it a very successful film.

As stated before, DREDD was filmed mainly at London's DNA studios. Although it may not be an obvious reason, it did still in fact contribute to the failure of DREDD. Since the studios opening, it has produced films such as Love Actually and The Last King of Scotland, both successful films in Britain. From the studios history or filmography it is clear to see that it's best use is for British based comedy/drama films featuring British actors, whilst having a British feel/theme throughout. However, DREDD once again did not fit into this category, as it did not have a British theme and did not contain many British actors. These reasons are key contributing factors as to why it failed, as the studio which produced it were not experienced nor equipped for a film such as this, therefore creating a somewhat shambolic superhero mess.
However, The Dark Knight Rises was filmed in a studio with previous history of bringing superheros to life AND doing it well. Legendary Studios have created films such as Watchmen, Batman Begins and Superman Returns, and so has experience and equipment needed to create a successful superhero film - unlike DNA Studios. The studio has also had a partnership with Warner Bros for many years, and as of next year they will develop a new deal with Universal studios. This also suggests why The Dark Knight Rises was a better quality of film than DREDD, it had the co-finance of one of the biggest film companies/distributors in the entire industry and so was bound to have a bigger budget ($250–300 million) as well as a better distribution pattern and better advertising.

In conclusion, DREDD was a box office failure because the character is virtually unknown on the global scale and the previous film which was released was regarded as one of the worst superhero films of all time. DREDD was also released in 3D only which did not prove particularly popular with global audiences as many people find it easier and more enjoyable to view films in HD, due to the fact that the novelty of 3D has worn off. The film was also released as an 18, meaning that a huge portion of superhero fans and possible viewers were unable to watch the film at the cinema, causing a huge loss of money at the box office. DREDD was given the age rating of 18, as it features violent, mature themes and appeals more to film buffs rather than a mainstream audience. Finally, as DREDD was a British film it had a low budget to spend on the likes of A list actors, top of the range equipment such as IMAX cameras and did could not market the film on a global scale.

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