‘Dredd’ TV Series: Why Netflix Will Pick Up Cult Comic, Film Soon

The Dredd TV series could soon become a reality now that the “Bring Back Dredd” petition is gaining traction online.

Publisher Rebellion has signed on with a simple message for the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO: “Turn our long-running comic book series into a television show.”

But this show wouldn’t be just any new interpretation of the character. Fans have seen how poorly that can go with the 1996 Sylvester Stallone version.

This theoretical Dredd TV show would be a direct sequel to the 2012 feature film. The film starred Karl Urban in the titular role.

The Star Trek Beyond star has confirmed that he would be on board with putting the helmet back on, though previous efforts for a sequel film have fallen flat.

That’s not from lack of trying, though.

Among general audiences, the Judge Dredd character is not as widely known as, say, a Batman or a Spider-Man, and he doesn’t have the large corporate backing of characters, such as Iron Man and the Green Lantern.

That makes movie studios nervous, particularly since the 2012 film wasn’t a runaway hit.

Approved for a $50 million budget, Box Office Mojo reports that it was only able to gross $35 million in worldwide box office (a mere $13 million domestically).

On paper, with numbers like those, there would be little chance of a 13-episode television show actually happening, but a lot has changed since the film’s disappointing run.

For starters, Wired UK has a different set of numbers than BOM, stating that the theatrical run actually brought in around $41.5 million against a lower budget figure of $45 million.

That still makes Dredd a money loser, but it also doesn’t account for the popularity that the film has found on Blu-ray and video on demand.

There is also a rabid cult following that keeps the possibility of at least a feature film sequel alive with organized annual events where fans make a financial push by buying up copies to show their eagerness.

Last but not least, the aforementioned “Bring Back Dredd” petition is now at an impressive 136,000 signatures. That’s not to be taken lightly, given the fact that Netflix and Amazon Prime and HBO aren’t always about the dollar signs.

All three content providers have a reputation for niche programming and allowing for creative freedom — things that are often missing from the movie studio system.

Considering that they base their businesses on a monthly subscription model, they are also not as beholden to the masses when it comes to content.

Case-in-point, it would be hard to argue that a Full House film would do gangbusters at the box office, yet Netflix has breathed new life into the classic 80s/90s sitcom because they know there is a small, passionate market for it.

That makes the possibility of a Dredd TV show at Netflix compelling. Add to that fact that Netflix has already dipped its toes successfully into the comic book character market with its Marvel collaborations, and it could very well be the best landing place.

By the same note, Amazon Studios could also consider the property as a low-risk way of testing the superhero waters.

The online retailer-turned-content creator has received kudos for The Man in the High Castle, based largely on its unique world building execution for an alternative 1962 in which the Nazis and Japanese won World War II.

While the story line to High Castle is considerably different from Rebellion’s comic book series, the world of Dredd is deep and rich and would be a logical acquisition.

One final dark horse candidate for a Dredd TV show would be Starz, which sort of got into the comic book market when it picked up Ash vs. The Evil Dead for a successful 10-episode run. The show has already been renewed for season 2.

But what do you think, readers?

Does a Dredd TV show make sense, and if so, where would you like to see it turn up?

[Image via Dredd (2012 film) screen grab]