'Dredd' star Urban blasts marketing for box office flop

Karl Urban. Photo / NZME.
Karl Urban. Photo / NZME.

New Zealand actor Karl Urban blamed mishandled marketing for the poor performance of his 2012 film Dredd at the box office, revealing on Saturday he was in talks to make a sequel.

The 3D feature based on the comic strip Judge Dredd, about a law enforcement officer in a dystopian future, made just $22 million (NZ $32 million) domestically - less than half of its production costs - despite being a hit with critics.

Dredd represented a failure in marketing. I saw the tracking of that film weeks before it came out and the fundamental problem was no one knew it was being released," said Urban, who played the title role.

"Once it came out on DVD and it sold 750,000 copies in the first week alone in North America alone, it was very clear that the audience had discovered it."

The film, directed by Pete Travis, has already attained "cult status," said Wellington-born Urban.

Karl Urban. Photo / Getty Images
Karl Urban. Photo / Getty Images

And the movie has far surpassed 1995's largely panned Judge Dredd, which starred Sylvester Stallone and was derided by critics.

During a roundtable discussion on his new film, Star Trek Beyond, the 43-year-old told AFP that people are still talking about Dredd and "they want more."

"I think the film had a huge disservice done to it," Urban said.

"I'm amenable to being part of a legitimate and worthy follow-up to that film. I'm open to looking at any sort of limited exploration of that and in any medium," he added.

It is no secret that Urban has been keen to revisit the character of Judge Dredd and has backed various fan campaigns to get a sequel off the ground.

Urban said he'd had "some very good conversations" with Jason Kingsley, co-founder of British-based Rebellion, which publishes the comic 2000 AD and holds the rights to the character.

Asked about rumors that streaming services Netflix or Amazon might pick up "Dredd" as a series rather than a new film, he said: "I wouldn't be opposed to it."

"The fans are demanding to have more and it would be a real privilege to continue that story. There's just a goldmine of fantastic stories in the 2000 AD Judge Dredd canon that would be really marvelous to see on screen."

In the rebooted Star Trek films, Urban plays the ship's doctor Leonard "Bones" McCoy. The latest installment, Star Trek Beyond, is due to be released on June 22.

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