Gunslinger holding a rose

Can This Stephen King Adaptation Beat Box Office Records?

Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series is beloved by readers around the world, and sits on top of many book lovers’ fantasy lists. Finally, Hollywood has heard the calls of fans, and has brought the book to life. Bad news is nobody likes it.


Idris Elba

via Collider

Manohla Dargis, of the New York Times, says:

Roland, by contrast, lives in Mid-World, an incoherent realm of foggy woods, digital boogeymen, cinematic allusions, slavering nods to Mr. King’s voluminous oeuvre and some geological formations that may cause you to uselessly flash on images from John Ford westerns.


And Richard Roeper, of The Chicago Sun Times, weighs in:

The cinematography has a washed-out, dull tone. The special effects are mediocre. With a few exceptions, the dialogue is stilted and filled with expository passages so obviously intended to explain things to us, I half-expected characters to turn to the camera and say, “Here’s what you need to know so you can understand what’s happening.”


Matt McConaughey and Idris Elba

via Show Film First


Adapting “The Dark Tower” series into a film has, itself, become something of an epic adventure. J.J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) initially attempted an adaptation, and gave up once he realized transitioning King’s sprawling series into a blockbuster movie was…hard.


Then Ron Howard (“Apollo 13,” “Rush”) wanted to make the series into a television/film crossover event. In order to capture the entirety of King’s imagination, something of that scale would probably be necessary. But then nothing happened.


Matthew McConaughey

via Uproxx


Then this adaptation came along, helmed by Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel, and, at least, the cast looked good. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey starring, respectively, as the Gunslinger and the Man in Black. Perfect! Two cool, likable leads.


Then, just days before release, Variety reported that production was “plagued with problems and clashing visions.” After seeing a cut of Arcel’s, Sony Pictures chief Tom Rothman allegedly spent hours in the editing bay making critiques. Ron Howard, a producer of the film, helped Arcel do the music, and Akiva Goldsman, co-writer and producer, was also brought in to put the thing together.


Judging by reviews, and box office forecasts (predictions put it at around $20 million on a $60 million budget) Stephen King’s beloved “Dark Tower” series has been adapted into a bomb. What might have been the next “Lord of the Rings,” or “Game of Thrones” is instead a massive disappointment. As usual, those who suffer most are the fans.




Feature image courtesy of Michael Whelan.