Dredd

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  • Directed By: Pete Travis
  • Written By: Alex Garland
  • Release Date: September 21, 2012
  • Domestic Distributor: Lionsgate
  • Cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey

Box Office Info:
Budget: $45 millionFinanced by: IM Global; Reliance Entertainment
Domestic Box Office: $13,414,714Overseas Box Office: $28,052,892

dredd 2012
In May 2010 India based Reliance Entertainment bought a majority share of the sales outfit IM Global and the first full collaboration between the two companies was Dredd.  IM Global took the reboot of the comic book character (and the toxic 1995 Judge Dredd Stallone stinker) to the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010 for pre-sales.   The budget for Dredd was $45 million and it was the best seller to distributors at the festival and landed more than $30 million from the pre-sales — including $7 million from UK based distributor Entertainment.

Lionsgate brokered a three picture deal in November 2010 with IM Global and Dredd was one of the projects the mini-studio would distribute stateside, with their P&A spend backstopped by Reliance — if the movie tanked.  Along with the stench of the previous Judge Dredd movie looming over this property, buzz was off to a negative start in late 2011, when word got out that director Pete Travis was removed from the editing room.  Screenwriter Alex Garland took over the editing process and the director and writer issued a joint statement saying this was an “unorthodox collaboration” — which sounds exactly like what a non-disparagement clause in your contract would force you to say.  Actor Karl Urban has since said that he took direction on set from Garland.  Dredd premiered two months early at Comic-Con and despite all the production woes, it was greeted very enthusiastically.

Lionsgate dated Dredd for September 21 and spent a reported $25 million on P&A.  It bowed against End Of Watch, House At The End Of The Street, Trouble With The Curve and the nation wide expansion of The Master.  The marketing for Dredd was terrible and despite decent reviews and a salivating fan base, the marketing never attracted audiences outside of the geek comic book fanbase.  When promotional ads stress that this time Judge Dredd never takes off his helmet, you are only going after the already initiated and likely turned off most of the moviegoing public.

Tracking was soft going into release and it was only expected to pull in $8 – $10 million for the weekend.  Dredd was dead on arrival with $6,278,491 — placing #6 over the very slow weekend led by End Of Watch.  Even with the awful opening, Dredd was front-loaded and sank 62.3% the following frame to $2,363,956.  It lasted just six weeks in theaters and ended its US run with only $13,414,714.  Lionsgate would see returned about $7.3 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, leaving most of the $25+ million marketing spend in the red.

Overseas the film amounted to only $28,052,892, posting red ink for all of the distributors who picked up the rights and invested in a sizable marketing spend.  Dredd was a box office disaster and despite petitions and fanboys frothing at the mouth for a sequel, the movie was financed by pre-sales to dozens of distributors who all lost money on the reboot.  Even with decent home video sales, no company would sign onto a sequel that lost them millions.  Maybe if it was retooled into a series…

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