2017 has been awash in adaptations of Stephen King’s work and though the prolific author typically has positive things to say about adaptations of his work, even he will admit that something went seriously wrong with The Dark Tower, which ended up being one of the most disappointing movies of the summer from both a critical and commercial standpoint.
In an interview with Vulture, King explained what he felt went wrong with the film adaptation of his epic fantasy book series, claiming that it all comes down to time and tone.
“The major challenge was to do a film based on a series of books that’s really long, about 3,000 pages,” King said. “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.”
Directed by Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Ancel, The Dark Tower combined elements from several of King’s eight novels in the series, which is part of the reason why both book fans and casual audiences alike were left scratching their heads at the film’s narrative direction. The film was in the works for nearly a decade prior to its release this past August and even when it was finally finished, its release was pushed from February to July and then August. It has only earned approximately $50 million in the U.S. and Canada on a production budget of $60 million, representing a loss for Sony Pictures.
What’s unclear now is whether plans for creating an entire Dark Tower media universe will continue given the film’s disappointing performance. A TV series is still reportedly in the works and while Idris Elba isn’t sure if the series is still happening, King thinks it’s still a possibility … with the caveat that some big changes will have to take place first. “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.”
Fortunately for King fans, there are other, much better adaptations released this year to be excited about. Andy Muschietti’s It has been a smash success, shattering box office records and earning great reviews, while the Netflix-produced Gerald’s Game is reportedly one of the best King adaptations ever.