Recent years have been pretty good in terms of Stephen King. Hulu had 11.22.63 and the upcoming Castle Rock series, The Audience Network has Mr Mercedes, and the big screen just saw the release of The Dark Tower and IT.
At this point, there’s a bit of a sore thumb in that lineup. Of those adaptations so far, The Dark Tower is undoubtedly the lowlight in recent memory. While the film didn’t cost a whole lot to make $60 million, its $19 million opening was more than a little disappointing. It ultimately made $110 million worldwide, and while that may be just enough to break even, Sony likely isn’t popping any champagne over it.
But more than that, it was creatively slammed by critics for being a shallow and silly take on the source material. From day one, fans knew it would be a difficult property to adapt, and speaking with Vulture, author Stephen King highlighted the difficulty with adapting something like The Dark Tower into a film:
“The major challenge was to do a film based on a series of books that’s really long, about 3,000 pages. The other part of it was the decision to do a PG-13 feature adaptation of books that are extremely violent and deal with violent behavior in a fairly graphic way. That was something that had to be overcome, although I’ve gotta say, I thought [screenwriter] Akiva Goldsman did a terrific job in taking a central part of the book and turning it into what I thought was a pretty good movie. The TV series they’re developing now … we’ll see what happens with that. It would be like a complete reboot, so we’ll just have to see.”
As King mentioned, given the sheer number of pages in the series, it was a mammoth task (never mind the violence they had to omit). Rather than try and actually adapt those pages, they just picked from the lore and kind of spun their own little tale, utilizing all the different elements. While it didn’t work for everyone, there are a good number of fans who have expressed their happiness over that approach, which is worth something.
All in all, unless you’re willing to commit a whole lot of time and money, this likely is a property better suited for television. Let’s hope that with the show they’re developing now, they’ll be able to put out something that’s a bit more in line with the source material.
Did you have a chance to check out The Dark Tower? If so, what did you think of it? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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