Luke Y. Thompson is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of Comic-Com, which runs July 12-15 in San Diego.
We previously mentioned Lionsgate‘s Comic-Con dilemma with promoting Dredd — how to present footage when the star of your panel is The Expendables 2‘s Sylvester Stallone, who starred in the oft-derided previous adaptation Judge Dredd? Now we have their solution — on Wednesday, preview night, they’ll be showing the entire movie, in which Karl Urban (who’ll be introducing the screening in person) plays the title role previously undertaken by Sly, two months ahead of its opening.
Sometimes this strategy can backfire – Universal screened Scott Pilgrim vs. The World so many times at Comic-Con one year that by the time it came anyone who wanted to see it already had. But Dredd is looking for good word of mouth, as fans who’ve seen the trailer have been comparing it unfavorably to The Raid: Redemption, though this was somewhat defused when that film’s director Gareth Evans tweeted “Dredd looks great, not concerned about similarities. That film was in production around the same time we finished The Raid.”
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Judge Dredd is a tough character for a Hollywood adaptation: a hardass antihero from British comics set in a satirical future America, a borderline fascist cop/judge/executioner who never takes off his face-obscuring helmet. Stallone tried to make him a more traditional action hero, which flopped with fans of the comics; creator John Wagner has endorsed what he’s seen of the new movie so far as being truer to Dredd. Lionsgate is clearly betting fans will feel the same way — and spread the word — once they see the whole thing.