Saturday, 27 September 2014

Why Did Dredd Fail at the Box Office?


Dredd is a film all about a violent and futuristic city that where police have a place in the authority to act as a judge. They decide the punishments for those crime committers and they make the point of why they did it. One cop called Dredd teams up with a trainee judge and takes on a gang from Beach Trees tower block that deals with the reality-altering drug, slow-mo. I would say that it is a fast pace film that is quite quick at getting into the action. The film’s producer was someone called Alex Garland who also produced 28 days later and sunshine. These two films however are very different from Dredd. The distributers for the film played a big role of the film getting known and they were; Entertainment Film, Distributers and Lionsgate. Lionsgate are a Canadian or American entertainment company who have distributed many other films like the hunger games, and the power rangers. Both quite big films therefore Alex Garland probably thought going with Lionsgate was a good option. Lionsgate also announced a three picture deal with another company, IM Global in 2010. Finally the script writer, the script writer was someone called John Wagner who has worked on A History of Violence. He worked alongside another script writer called Carlos Eiquerra who worked on Comics Britannia. This means that both of these writers have worked on things to do with the past so doing the future is a bit of a mix up for them.

Another film distribution company includes IM Global. IM Global is leading film financing, sales and distribution company so you would be surprised how Alex Garland didn’t have IM Global as a distributer as well. Another example would be DNA films. DNA Films is also a film company however it is British and it is founded by Duncan Kenworthy. Duncan Kenworthy is the producer of very famous film, Love Actually. The company is all funded from the national lottery so they make their money very differently. DNA films also however decided to maintain a relationship with Fox Searchlight because of potential bigger projects that could work on.

The stars of the film Dredd include huge star Carl Urban who announced his main part in Dredd at comic con in 2010. Comic con is a huge comic book event and convention that’s all about superheroes, marvel that’s held in a variety of places. Carl announced his role in LA. I feel that he did this because it might have attracted the target audience of the film as it is a comic book event and Dredd was originally a comic book. Also it would get the people interested in the concept of the film because he would be able to talk about what the films going to be about. Because of this early announcement of Carl Urbans role and the way he announced it, the company actually made $30million dollars in film pre-sales. As well as this the distributer paid $7million dollars to show the film in the UK because they thought it would be a big hit. This is surprising because Dredd was actually filmed in Cape-Town in Johannesburg so you would have thought that Dredd would be an American dominated film. On the other hand 12 Years A Slave is a film that was also filmed in America and that was very popular in Britain.


In the film Dredd a lawgiver gun had to be created. The gun was designed in 1995 and appeared in the comic book, in the first original film and now again in the new film (2012). The could have meant that people were bored of the same older concepts like the gun from the comic book and wanted to see something different. This, may be the gun but it could be changed slightly. All this relating to the box office figures as people didn't want to see all the same things. As well as the gun being made the slo-mo sequence had to be designed. This sequence also appeared in the film, Never Let Me Go by Jon Thurn. There was a problem with all these drugs and violence because they wanted to keep the film at an 18 certificate. It includes lots of forbidden language so they didn’t particularly want it to go any lower. Some people think that having a film as an 18 is difficult to get known because the audience range is a lot smaller. However the film makers actually had no doubt about the film being known, they felt as if it would become huge. The filming of Dredd began on the 12th November 2010 and it took approximately thirteen weeks to do. The second unit photograph occurred with the in the first 7 weeks and was over by the eighth. When it comes to the shooting of the film and what cameras were used it was done digitally and primarily in 3D using Red MX, S12K and Phantoms flex high speed camera. This made sure that the film could be watched in 3D and 2D, opening up there audience range further. To use these difference cameras the producer had to involve multiple camera rigs, some of which had to be newly created so that they could fit and work to certain camera angles.

Post – Production

The makers of the film had to experiment with some of the visual aspects of the production in the ‘mega city’. This included the positioning and initial design of the tower blocks that were supposed to make the impression of the city being new a modified over the top of the older city scape. When the tried to replicate the tower blocks from the comic book pictures they noticed that it would make the buildings just look small. To alter this, instead of putting the set close together they spread them out so they could really emphasise the bigger tower blocks. As well as making the buildings look smaller it also made the roads and cars more visible out of the ‘mega city’ scenes. There was one main issue that occurred when it came to the editing of Dredd and this was that Travis, the main editor was prohibited in the editing process as there were creative disagreements between some of the production team and executives. A man named Garland then had to take over at late notice but his contribution was actually considered to be significant enough for him to get a directors credit. This was considered to be quite unusual as Garland had never directed a film before. The whole disagreement with Travis resulted in him just monitoring the progress of the film and he ended up with no input into the editing of the film production. In October, Travis and Garland actually paired together and announced a joint statement about an ‘unorthodox collaboration’. This meant that Travis could still be involved in the film and proved that Garland was in fact not looking for a co-directors credit.

All of this in my opinion relates back the question because it talks about how someone had to take over directing due to issues at late notice. This could have an effect on the box office figures because the person who took over wasn’t very experienced in what he was told to do therefore the film could have been quite stuttery in some ways as he won’t have known what to do and when to do it. Another point to make about the change in role for Garland is that it might have initially put people off watching the film because its a more unknown director and people like seeing what they know. What I mean by this is that Garland isn't well known when compared to people like JJ Abrams and that could mean that people would much rather see something else that almost has a guarantee of being a good film whereas Garland would be more of risk. All this could affect the box office figures for Dredd. nother thing in the pre-production stages that could have linked back to the box office could be about the comic books. Did they try too hard to replicate the books or should they have changed it slightly so people became more interested in the new and potentially better film version?

Distribution and Marketing

Dredd as a film was shown in 2,506 locations and cinemas and only 2,200 of them were 3D. This means that there wasn’t too much option to watch it as a 2D film. This could result in a problem because some people wouldn’t want to pay the extra few pounds to see it in 3D when for less money they can see a different film. To get the film more views, the producers had to advertise it further through marketing virally. To do this they almost did a whole section about the new film at Comic Con to under 25s and these people would be the prime people to go to the cinema. As part of this campaign to get Dredd known, LG partnered with other publisher 2000AD and Motion Comic and created an online comic strip for people to see that was a prequel to Dredd. The viral marketing was something a bit different and a bit simpler; the film won the Golden Trailer Award so that when people watched the trailer they would see that it won an award. The film also appeared at the Fantastic Fest. This event is an annual film festival in Austin Texas and was founded in 2005. This would appeal to Dredd’s target audience because it shows films similar to Dredd and the people that go to the Fantastic Fest are people very interested in all different types of films. This meaning that the film would probably gain more viewers just from this one event. Again I have to mention that the films trailer won a Golden Trailer Award so this would influence the audience of the people that attended the awards to go and see the film for tips and things to make their own films better.

When it comes to the actual box office figures the film actually earned just over $41 million at the box office on an estimated budget of $45 million. This sadly meant that the film company didn’t reach any profit at all. The film company had to use quite an unusual technique to get people to come and see the film and that was completely removing the chance to go and see the film in 2D. By doing this it meant everyone who wanted to see the film would have to pay for the more expensive ticket. The distributors of Dredd however feel that the film will attract loads of people and they think that the film will definitely get a greater profit by doing this because people don’t have the chance to see the 2D version. This strategy of getting a better profit didn’t quite work and the company failed to get the profit of money they wanted. This is the reason why no other big blockbuster films try this and take different actions instead. There is a certain percentage that are physically incapable of seeing the 3D image and that is 18%. This will make it even more difficult for the film to make a profit because they won’t even have the option of going to see the film. Another problem actually happened with the film and this was due to the time it was released. The film was released after The Raid and the two films had an incredibly similar concept in them. This would have probably stopped people from going and seeing the film because they will have already seen something very similar so would most probably not enjoy it. This meaning they would take their attention elsewhere and Dredd would miss out with more box office figures. When it comes to DVD sales and where Dredd actually came in the DVD charts it was much unexpected. In DVD sales the film made $10,623,857. This is quite a lot of money considering the production company became unsure and worried about the films intake. Dredd in the charts was seen as the number 1 selling DVD and Blu-ray and the money they made was all due to the fact that 650,000 copies were sold. However Blu-ray copies accounted for nearly 50% of that figure. All of of this shows that only releasing the film as 3D was a bad idea yes but it also didn’t have too much of an impact, in my opinion, to sales. This also probably meant that people bought the DVD instead of going to see it at the cinema. In the US there was one particular audience demographic that was the largest. I feel that this group is hard to specify however. This distribution pattern could of have an impact negatively on the film. This because people preferred seeing the film on DVD or Blu-ray due to pricing being so high in price. It made buying the DVD itself better value for money even if you did turn out not to like the film. All this links to the film failing in the box office because it meant that people would make an instant decision of whether to go and see the film or not. The mass majority of people did in the end make the decision as to not go and see the film at the cinema and simply buy the film instead. This then became popular knowledge and even more people didn't see the film at the cinema. Did this mean the prices at the cinema had to rise due to not many people going? No, it didn't but what it did mean was that the film got lower and lower in the charts and started to get criticism from the press. 

When it comes to Dredd failing at the box office I have most probably given plenty of reasons above. What I am going to do however is highlight some key points of interests that are considerable factors to why the film struggled to get ‘mega’. The first point I am going to highlight is the fact that the producers only released the film in 3D. There have been films before that have been released and they didn’t take off. When they decided to do this they must have known about the risk they would be taking and how they might not get the attention for the film they wanted. With the film being the type it is, people really have to know about the story to decide whether they want to see it. After watching the trailer for the film, even though it won an award, I personally feel it didn’t express the feelings of the film well enough. It seemed to portray it as film about the whole city and not just one tower block. For me as a person who likes this kind of film, I probably wouldn’t have gone to see it and would have gone to see something similar but different.

So why did Dredd fail the box office? Some people say it’s because it wasn’t British enough. What I mean by this is that the American audience probably weren’t expecting the film to be so stereotypical and so UK influenced. This probably led to them losing interest quite early on.  Some people say it’s because it was an 18 so it wasn’t getting a big enough audience. And some people say it’s because it would get compared to films like Spiderman and The Avengers. That is probably true, it probably would be compared but that wouldn’t explain why the film was failing. During the marketing of the film, not much was done to make the film appear popular globally and this meant it was only really aimed towards Britain and America. As well as them using typical marketing techniques they also used a website, and the aim of that was attract ‘attention’ and give out spoilers about the film. Could have that ruined the film so much that people just decided not to go and see it? To conclude this assignment I personally feel that the failure was due to Dredd not being an overly popular comic book in the first place. The character wasn’t very accepted and audiences didn’t become interested enough in the story line. Dredd was a Marvel comic book and like I said before there were so many things that it could have potentially been compared to. Marvel comics include; Spiderman, Thor, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, Wolverine. These six comics in particular were very popular and were seen as the mainstream reads of the graphic novel industry. Dredd on the other hand was one of those added extra heroes and was quite low scale in the aspect of storyline and character. At the box office in the UK Dredd earned a total of $6.9 million dollars. So it wasn’t really successful and did kind of fail with box office figures for many reasons but it will still be known as a comic book classic.

When I compare the UK box office figures to something else of a similar genre like The Amazing Spiderman 2, you can see quite a big difference. Spiderman gained £19.77 million pounds so putting that in dollars it would be $32.12 million dollars. This is one big difference between the two films. The Amazing Spiderman 2 is based on the classic marvel comic book and is a remake of a previous Spiderman film. The film production stares people in it like Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx. Andrew previously stared in a film called; Never Let Me Go. This film was a previously mentioned film. And Emma Stone in a films like; Crazy Stupid Love and Easy A. So both Dredd and The Amazing Spiderman 2 have well known stars in them so you would be surprised that Spiderman did better in the box office than Dredd did because you would have thought that they would have attracted the same audience. Spiderman was directed by a man called Marc Webb and he has previously directed other things like 500 days of summer and The Amazing Spiderman 1. The film was marketed in a similar way and it first released footage on April 16th which was before it was meant to be. This meant that people would have been even keener to go and see the film because they would want the producers and distributors to release the actual film earlier as well. Like Dredd the film was marketed at comic con in San-Diego and it premiered a four minute trailer. This once again captured their target audience’s attention at the comic book event. From all the marketing the film received mixed reviews from film critics and you would have thought that this would have taken the box office figures down slightly but it didn’t. The reviews said that the film had over stuffed plot lines, set pieces and villains but Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were very good at giving the film heart. When these reviews are compared to the once of Dredd you can see a slight difference. The reviews from Dredd appeared to be very positive and created memory. In my opinion I would say that Dredd got better initial reviews than Spiderman so this makes me again question why Dredd failed at the box office. However I think that it will always lead back to Spiderman being a classic and Dredd…not so much.

1 comment:

  1. Melissa. You have provided many examples in this response, what you need to develop however is your focus on argument. For too long in this response you simply present facts without connecting them to the question. For example, could the squabling between Travis and Garland (the man called Garland was Alex Garland) result in an inferior edit/product? Might that deter audiences? Also, provide statistics from 3D screenings, did the distribution pattern negatively impact the film (you hint at this when discussing DVD and BluRay sales)?

    This is an incredilbly detailed response in places, it now needs to formal tone and constant focus on the 'aspect' and 'viewpoint' when you write.

    Well done, you continue your impressive start to the term.