The Dark Tower is going to go down as not only one of the biggest cinematic disappointments of 2017, but of all time. Stuck for years in development hell, the final product was a muddled mess, with zero convincing action set in a watered down nonsensical YA version of Stephen King's defining universe. The movie had an incredible cast (Idris Elba as Roland being just divine), and the perfect Man In Black (though Matthew McConaughey turns in a career worst performance). Such a shame.
But don't tell any of that to Stephen King, who has his own thoughts on why The Dark Tower failed. In a chat with Entertainment Weekly, the best selling horror icon blames most of the problems on studio interference and an insistence on delivering a PG-13 film:
“The real problem, as far as I’m concerned is, they went in to this movie and I think this was a studio edict, pretty much, this is going to be a PG-13 movie. It’s going to be a tentpole movie. We want to make sure that we get people in there from the ages of, let’s say, 12 right on up to whatever the target age is. Let’s say 12 to 35. That’s what we want. So it has to be PG-13 and when they did that, I think that they lost a lot of the toughness of it and it became something where people went to it and said, Well yeah, but it’s really not anything that we haven’t seen before.”
Well, there's actually some truth to that, amidst a whole bunch of bullshit. Sure, Sony wanting this movie to be a tent pole probably had a lot to do with it being diluted and targeted (even in production) to a wide range of demographics, but making anything in that movie (as it is) R-rated is only spraying blood on a splattered carcass. There's nothing too fixable about The Dark Tower, even by adding this so-called "toughness".
It's weird to see - now removed from press hype - how King is being a little more critical of the project (as he's obviously no longer trying to sell the movie), as he now says he's always been skeptical of its quality:
“Sometimes when people have made up their mind, the creative team that’s actually going to go and shoot the movie, it’s a little bit like hitting your fist against hard rubber, you know. There’s a kind of it doesn’t really hurt, but you don’t get anywhere. It just sort of bounces back and I thought to myself, Well, people are going to be really puzzled by this, and they were. So there was some of that problem, too.”
The future of The Dark Tower remains in flux, as though a proposed television series has been making some progress (and will essentially act like the movie didn't even exist in the first place), it's tough to see the picture (which made $111 million worldwide on a $60 million budget) spawning a huge franchise, as nobody really trusts this creative team moving forward.