The Dredd reboot from 2012 was a box office disappointment, as it only took in $35.6 million worldwide against a $50 million production budget. While Dredd has seen some success on home video and with online streaming, the reboot hasn’t really moved the needle enough for Lionsgate to justify making a sequel. For the meantime, a comic book sequel will have to do.
As reported on Movies.com, Dredd: Underbelly will be the first-ever official U.S. format release from 2000AD publisher Rebellion. The anthology collects Arthur Wyatt and Henry Flint’s comic book sequel to Dredd, which was originally serialized earlier in the year in the British publication Judge Dredd Megazine. According to 2000AD editor Matt Smith, the Dredd: Underbelly release is aimed at the American market and will capitalize on the awareness of the Dredd character, played by Karl Urban. Smith says:
“We’ve noted a real swell of US interest in Dredd off the back of the film. This first foray for 2000AD in producing a US-format book, geared specifically to the [comic book] direct market, and aimed at satisfying those demanding a sequel, is a stumm gas grenade-style lob across the Atlantic to show that you don’t have to camp outside your local multiplex to get your next fix of Mega-City One — the Judge will carry on enforcing the Law through the pages of the comic. Arthur and Henry [creators Arthur Wyatt and Henry Flint] have created a terrific story, and a powerful follow-up to the film — Dredd fans won’t be disappointed.
When the Judge Dredd comic book launched in 1977, it only had distribution in its native United Kingdom. The publishers have tried to tap into the American market with distribution and licensing deals with Quality Comics, DC Comics, and now IDW Publishing. 2000AD publisher Rebellion has been re-issuing Dredd to American readers since 2010 and has signed an exclusive distribution deal with Simon and Schuster. Aside from Free Comic Book Day releases, Rebellion has stayed away from releasing Dredd in comic book stores, until now.
While a comic book sequel isn’t ideal for die-hard Dredd fans, at least the story will continue from the 2012 action film. Fans will get the opportunity to see the next adventures Judge Dredd and Judge Anderson go on after they leave the Peach Trees housing block. A few months ago, fans organized a “Dredd Day of Action” to build awareness for the character and to send Lionsgate a direct message that fans want a sequel to Dredd. September 18 was designated as “Dredd Day,” as fans would either buy copies of the movie on Blu-ray/DVD or iTunes, or stream the film on Netflix Instant or Amazon Prime.
There’s no telling why Dredd did so poorly in theaters last year. The movie is fun, exciting, and one of the most entertaining action films in 2012. Maybe it was the poor reception of the original Judge Dredd film in 1995 or the plot similarities between Dredd and The Raid: Redemption, which was released earlier in 2012, but a movie like Dredd should’ve been seen by more people. Now that Karl Urban is on Almost Human, maybe more people will discover Dredd on home video or online streaming.
Dredd: Underbelly will hit physical comic stores and online retailers such as the Amazon Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble Nook, and 2000AD iPad app in January 2014. If you like to watch a Dredd sequel, then sign the online petition. If Firefly and Veronica Mars both got fan-generated feature films, then why can’t Dredd? Keep the faith!!