I sat alone in the darkness of the cinema. I’d been early arriving, so it would only be a matter of time before the crowds started filing into the room, hogging all the best seats. So I was especially glad I’d pre-booked mine! This was Dredd, and it was going to be HUGE.
But the crowds never came. I don’t even know if anyone else came into the cinema at all, except for maybe a staff member or two, who probably just wanted to gawp at the strange man in the back of the theater, popcorn well and truly lodged in his beard, waiting patiently for Karl Urban to breath new life into the iconic anti-hero Judge Dredd. Since that day, I’ve held out hope for a sequel to the incredibe Dredd, but it seems that day will never come. Why’s that you ask? Shocking takings were responsible, despite the buzz that had been generated from the day it was announced. With a budget of $35 million, it only managed to scrape back £13,414,714, making it officially a box office flop.*
What’s more upsetting than this, though, is the fact that some other comic book movies – terrible ones at that – made way more money than my beloved Dredd. I was so shocked I had to document the fact, and thus this list was born.
And so, without further ado, here’s 5 terrible comic book movies that made more money than Dredd.
*Dredd has enjoyed huge success on DVD and Blu Ray since, but as we all know, that’s unlikely going to encourage studios to back a follow up.
5. Howard the Duck (Total Gross $16,295,774)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I bloody love Howard the Duck. So do not take the inclusion of this movie as an admission that I personally consider it terrible. However, there is no getting away from the fact that it’s just not a good film. So let’s get it out of the way first.
Perhaps if Karl Urban sat in a bath, displaying his sickening Mallard boobies, more of you would have been to see Dredd at the cinema? You sick, miserable lot!
4. The Phantom (Total Gross £$17,323,326)
In the comics, The Phantom was a mysterious, dangerous, calculated crime-fighter who struck fear into the hearts of his many enemies. In the movie version he was Billy Zane in a purple felt onesie.
Billy Zane is way too smarmy to play a character as complex as Chris “Kit” Walker, the original Phantom. He looked awkward and gangly, and his disguise made him look like a fabulous cat burglar. Despite a weak promotional campaign, including a terrible trailer, the film still managed to make just shy of $17.5 million which just goes to show that people will pay to see just about anything. Anything except Dredd it seems.
3. The Shadow (Total Gross $32,063,435)
After the success of Tim Burton’s Batman, Hollywood realised that there was a market for dark, brooding heroes once again, and as such began the process of churning out any properties they could lay their hands on.
The Shadow had been a successful comic books, pulp novellas and radio dramas up until the 1950’s, and was great subject matter to bring to the big screen if handled correctly. Thank the Gods then that Universal went with Alec Baldwin in the titular role. I mean, he had some serious action pedigree up to that point, right? Compared to Dredd, The Shadow made a small fortune, yet a sequel never materialised which was a real … pause to appear sincere … shame.
2. Batman & Robin (Total Gross $107,325,195)
I think we can all agree, Batman & Robin is one of the biggest crimes against humanity ever perpetrated. I mean, there’s been some terrible comic book movies over the years, but this was the pitts. It was camper than a row of tents, and made Adam West and Burt Ward’s performances in the TV series look manly as fuck, and as dark as the Christopher Nolan trilogy.
The only saving grace here is that whether it’s garbage or not it’s still a Batman movie. And Batman will always sell tickets.
1. Judge Dredd (Total Gross $34,693,481)
Perhaps the biggest travesty of all is, despite all the years of bitching and moaning us ‘Dredd Heads’ did about how Hollywood took our favourite Judge and bastardized him in the original movie, so few of us actually bothered to go and see the reboot at the cinema. Thus, the 1995 shit fest starring Sylvester Stallone actually out performed the Karl Urban version by about $22,000,000.
This is why we can’t have nice things people, and possibly why Dredd will never get the sequel it truly deserves. And for that crime, you’re sentenced to a lifetime in the Iso-Cubes, citizen.