Stephen King Explains Why The ‘Dark Tower’ Series Failed

It’s been a little over three years since the movie based on Stephen King’s Dark Tower series was released in theaters. See what the author has to say about the box office flop.

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It’s been a little over three years now since the movie based on Stephen King’s Dark Tower series was released in theaters, and was subsequently a box office flop. Making only $110 million worldwide against a $60 million budget (I know that $50 million may sound like a lot, but to put that in perspective, Boo! A Madea Halloween, a movie with a measly 19% on Rotten Tomatoes, made around the same amount), The Dark Tower, which was released in 2017 and starred Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, was criticized as being “boring and flavorless” as well as “incomprehensible to newbies and wildly unfaithful and simplistic to fans of King’s books,” and the author in question agrees:

“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.”


 Image via Screen Rant


While King has professed to ultimately liking the final project in the end, his criticisms are still spot-on. In case you’re unaware, the Dark Tower series consists of eight books and over 4,250 pages. A faithful adaptation of the first one would have been an ambitious enough project on its own, but to attempt to condense Roland’s entire quest for the Dark Tower into a single movie is a downright impossible feat to accomplish. Because of this, a significant amount of not only Roland’s development as a character was skipped, but of Jake Chambers’, as well (with the rest of the main characters that accompany Roland completely omitted). An hour and a half just isn’t enough time to properly tell Roland Deschain’s story, which is why the project was, ultimately, doomed to fail from the beginning.

Stephen King is also completely correct in his argument of the movie’s PG-13 rating contributing to its failure of an adaptation. While I do believe it would have been possible to omit the overt depictions of gore and violence and still result in a faithful adaptation of the original source material, other dark themes are featured that are necessarily tied to the plot, including but not limited to rape and suicide. While, like King, I can commend the screenwriter for trying his best to pull from across the entire Dark Tower story arc, the film still tried to do too much at once.

Featured image via the ringer