Sony is currently working on an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower books, but will it be a disaster? And more importantly, is Sony in some very hot water? The evidence is not too encouraging.
It’s fairly common knowledge that a film adaptation of Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower saga is being produced by Sony-Columbia Pictures. The film will star Idris Elba (Prometheus, Pacific Rim) and Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar, The Wolf Of Wall Street), two absolutely huge names who are both new to the Stephen King movie-verse. The film has been in post-production for months; Entertainment Weekly reports it wrapped filming in July 2016.
Both these facts — an A-list cast and a very long post-production period, meaning lots of special effects and crafty editing — would usually mean that the film would be drilled into the minds of movie buffs, Stephen King fans, and the rest of the general public starting at least six months in advance. The film is set to be a summer blockbuster, after all, and the fact that it is an adaptation of literary work from the ever-popular Stephen King only adds to its pop cultural appeal. Oddly, though, marketing for the Stephen King adaptation has been virtually nonexistent, with the poster released yesterday being the biggest development seen yet on the front. That fact has led many King fans and others to speculate that the Dark Tower film and Sony itself are in worse shape than they’re letting on, and not even a big name like Stephen King’s can save them.
In a recent video about the subject, YouTube content creator “Council of Geeks” comments that when his friend told him the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower was coming out in just over four months (the currently forecast release date is July 28), he could hardly believe it.
“The reason that strikes me as odd,” he mused in the video, “is because we haven’t seen much on this thing.”
Sure, a good amount of on-set photos taken during filming were leaked during 2016, but the ultra high-budget Stephen King adaptation has so far gotten next to no official promotion, something one would definitely expect of a giant-scale production coming out in just a few months.
Council of Geeks demonstrated just how odd the lack of marketing for the Stephen King flick is by looking at what is being done for some other movies also being released in July. This list included Spiderman: Homecoming, Dunkirk, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and War for the Planet of the Apes — admittedly not big-ticket Stephen King adaptations, but still. Every single one of the listed titles already has an official trailer on record. But this hugely anticipated film starring two huge Hollywood stars has not? It seems like something must be wrong.
Sony-Columbia Pictures are already having some major economic troubles, with Financial Times pointing out that they had a very rough 2016 and are having an even tougher 2017 in terms of box office. Two of their big-ticket pictures, Passengers and Ghostbusters, were big flops, at least relative to what was expected of them. The company cannot really take another huge hit like that, and unless The Dark Tower is going to be great, they will want to minimize the loss they take by skimping on marketing.
So what exactly is going on? Well, there’s no way to know for sure, but as Council of Geeks points out, there are two options that seem likely.
First, it is possible that the producers are simply behind schedule on the Stephen King movie and need more time. They were wildly optimistic with their initial estimate of a February 2017 release, so much so that they will not even be ready by the July date they re-selected. They just haven’t announced the new release date yet. That scenario would not be ideal because it probably means the movie in its current form is just not very good and needs either lots of re-shoots or lots of bells and whistles added in post-production.
Although the first possibility would not be great, scenario two might be worse. It is possible Sony has seen the film and is disgusted enough at what it saw to lose all confidence in the movie. They would rather let a horrible movie die quietly, Stephen King or not, than get everyone hyped up so they are all there to trumpet the failure from the hills once it drops. One could hardly blame them after last year’s Ghostbusters, a failure of epic proportions that will not soon be forgotten because it was so hyped up beforehand.
A big Stephen King adaptation may have seemed like an almost guaranteed win to Sony when it began production, but things are not looking so great.
If it is any consolation, the Inquisitr noted in an article published just a few days ago that Stephen King himself saw the Dark Tower movie and said in an interview that it was “terrific.” So at least there’s that.
A third option is that Sony is going for a media blitz approach to marketing The Dark Tower and will rely on barraging everyone with info regarding the flick in the few months before its release.
In any case, Stephen King fans are waiting with bated breath to see if this movie can do King’s saga, which is widely thought to be among his best work, any justice. Many of them are nervous that, unless the movie is a winner, it will put an irreversible blemish on Stephen King’s saga, and their nervousness grows each passing week without a trailer.
Are you hopeful about the Dark Tower film? Stephen King-head or not, make yourself heard in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Sony]