Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #943: Is The Dark Tower Too High To Climb?

First Universal Pictures passed on it when it was going to star Oscar winner Javier Bardem, then Warner Bros. passed on it when it was going to star Oscar winner Russell Crowe, and now Media Rights Capital is looking at possibly taking up the mantle.

"What mantle?" you ask, furrowing your brow in a feeble attempt to understand.

Well, if you're too lazy to click the links I'll explain.

I'm talking about Ron Howard's dream adaptation of Stephen King's epic horror/fantasy/science fiction hybrid book series The Dark Tower.

The series of 7 novels and associated other material a knightly gunslinger from another dimension called Mid-World named Roland Deschain who forms a fellowship of other wanderers to find the mythical Dark Tower that lies at the center of Stephen King's fictional cosmology.

Howard's dream was to put out both a big budget movie trilogy and an interconnected big budget TV series with an all star cast.
And I think that's where he fumbled the ball. 

A movie franchise, I think it could be pulled off.

A TV series, a possibility.



Not gonna sell.

Here's why.

If an entry in a movie franchise fails at the box office, they just aren't going to make another one.

A television series fails you cancel it.

However, if you have both, you are opening up a big can of complication worms.

Let's say the first movie's a hit, but no one watches the TV series? It's essential to understand the second movie, what do you?

What if the first movie's a horrendous bomb while you're already committed to a season of the TV series?

You can't get people to watch TV spin-offs of most hit movies, how are you going to get them to watch one spun off a bomb? Especially when seeing the movie at the right time is kind of essential to understand what the hell is going on.

What if the movie's a hit and the TV series is a hit, but the TV show is on a cable channel that a large chunk of the audience doesn't get? Do you wait to release the next movie until after everyone's caught up via DVD box-sets and Netflix?

And there are probably a hundred more complications a studio/network executive could see if any of them had any imagination.

If Howard and his minions at Imagine Entertainment want to see this project on any screen I think they're going to need to simplify.

Either make it a movie franchise, or a TV series.

Trying to have both is just too much to ask for.


  1. dcmatthews21/8/12 3:26 pm

    A TV series would work better at adapting a series of novels, especially if it appears on a premium cable channel with more permissive standards (HBO's adaptation of Game of Thrones the obvious example.)

    A cable-channel presentation could also help preserve King's original vision more faithfully than a broadcast series could. As King himself pointed out in Danse Macabre, broadcast TV really isn't allowed to terrify its audience. And although Dark Tower is more "epic fantasy" than King's more familiar horror/suspense offerings, I'm certain (though I haven't read the Dark Tower books) there are elements of the books that won't pass muster with broadcast but would be permitted (if not eagerly welcomed) by a cable channel.

  2. What's wrong with waiting to see how well one thing does before maybe doing the second?

  3. Here's the question no one (except spendthrift movie execs) seems to be asking: would The Dark Tower work as a TV series or a movie?