Since the character’s debut in 1977, Judge Dredd has become one of the most popular comic book characters in the UK. Unfortunately, U.S. fans never took quite as adamantly to the Street Judge from Mega-City One. Whether the totalitarian state depicted in the comics alienated American readers, or if the shadow of American characters like Superman and Batman obscured the character, Dredd failed to make a big splash with mainstream U.S. consumers. Although Sylvester Stallone’s “Judge Dredd” opened at number five at the box office in 1995, the film underperformed “Batman Forever” (then in week three) by over $3 million.
Still, the “Dredd” franchise returned to the big screen in 2012, this time with Karl Urban playing the titular enforcer. And the film did even worse. Opening at sixth for its opening weekend, “Dredd” was a spectacular flop. The barely scraped together $35.5 million worldwide (in 3D no less!) over its six week run and now boasts the ignominious record of 65th worst opening since 1982.
But perhaps Dredd is as stubborn as his “Lawgiver” handgun is deadly. Movieweb reports Karl Urban gave Dredd-heads something to salivate over at Chicago Comic-Con when asked about extending the film franchise.
“Why yes, there is a definite possibility,” he said of another ‘Dredd’ movie. “But it is more likely that we will do the origin story with Dredd trekking through the cursed earth to find the first Chief Judge Fargo.”
Urban’s not the only one priming a sequel. In an earlier interview with Empire, when asked about future Dredd project, Dredd creator John Wagner responded, “Well, if you mention the possibility of Judge Death appearing in a sequel, the fans go absolutely ape. The thought of seeing him and his cronies on the street… I’d like that.”
Screenwriter Alex Garland let his excitement slip in response. “I’d like to do that too. I think there would be a way to do it. I think you could do a second film which is all about the city and the law and where it comes from, and Judge Fargo and the pro-democracy terrorists, and Dredd’s struggle with the state that he’s part of.”
Will Dredd blast his way back onto the big screen? With a most recent opening weekend of barely $6 mil, and a total global gross of $35.6 against a $50M budget, we’d be utterly shocked. But stranger things have happened in Hollywood, and perhaps if fans clamor loud enough, Urban’s hints will prove more truth than speculation.