'Dredd' star Urban blasts marketing for box office flop

Karl Urban, who plays the ship's doctor Leonard "Bones" McCoy, said "Star Trek Beyond" was more complex and yet more fun than previous episodes (AFP Photo/Frederic J. Brown) (AFP/File)
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New Zealand actor Karl Urban blamed mishandled marketing for the poor performance of his 2012 film "Dredd" at the box office, revealing 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 worldwide -- less than half 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.

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 followup to that film. I'm open to looking at any sort of limited exploration of that and in any medium."

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.

- 'Fans are demanding more' -

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."

Marvel announced on Friday that Urban would join the cast of "Thor: Ragnarok," the third installment of the studio's films on the Norse superhero, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Taika Waititi.

But before that, he will appear as the ship's doctor Leonard "Bones" McCoy in "Star Trek Beyond," which is due to be released on June 22.

It is the third film in the rebooted "Star Trek" franchise that began in 2009 and once again brings Urban together with Zachary Pinto, who plays Mr Spock, and Chris Pine, who replaced William Shatner as Captain James Kirk.

"We're all in different places than when we started making these movies. Some of us have children now, some of us that were married are not married anymore," Urban said.

"Some of us, like Chris Pine, are still single and having a fantastic time."

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