Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Dark Tower Cancelled?
Sorry I wasn't here yesterday. I didn't get a chance to report news so unsurprising that even Ray Charles saw it coming.
Universal/Comcast have put a temporarily hold on the Dark Tower movies and TV shows due to budget concerns. I'm sure there are some people upset - probably 30 at most - but this is not bad news whatsoever.
For those who don't know, the Dark Tower is Stephen King's seven novel, 3900 page, 22 years in the making magnum opus. And it was going to be made into a trilogy (with two oddly separate TV series), directed by Ron Howard. Remember the last novel Opie made into a film, The Da Vinci Code? It is widely hailed as one of the best comedies in years.
I don't believe anything is unfilmable. Some things are just much harder to film that others. Hollywood was not approaching this right. They had ambitious long term plans, but had no means of attack. They just assumed they could get the big names, and everything else would fall into place. This movie existed solely as a thought in a couple of executives' heads.
Harry Potter was made one film at a time. Lord of the Rings was shot as one big movie, with plans to edit it into three. Lucas always had plans for Star Wars. The Dark Tower, it's just all over the place.
The best plan would be to make this into a (single) TV series. TV shows are bigger and better than ever. A lot of shows are even better quality than movies. Thanks to the DVD boxset and Tivo and iTunes and what not, people can actually follow deep shows even if they miss the original broadcast. HBO's Game of Thrones (another thousand page epic) is the biggest show right now, drawing in over 4 million viewers a week and tons of critical acclaim. HBO could do the Dark Tower right. Or maybe Showtime or Starz could pick it up as a nice rival. And it isn't just the big pay stations that know what they are doing anymore. FX and AMC have some amazing, award winning shows. Now just imagine how big of a one-two punch AMC would have on their hands if they showed The Walking Dead and Stephen King together.
As big as Mr. King is, he isn't exactly guaranteed money. The Shawshank Redemption, the highest rated movie in IMDB history, finished 9th its opening weekend and struggled to make back its budget. Besides, his movies are all over the place. He's provided material for some of the best movies ever (Shawshank, Stand By Me, Misery), some of the worse movies ever (Sleepwalkers, Graveyard Shift, Firestarter), movies he completely hates (Stanley Kubrick's The Shining), and movies that inexplicably fall into all three categories (King's directorial debut Maximum Overdrive). To top it off, The Dark Tower is not exactly accessible to the masses. This movie could easily go wrong, and possibly bankrupt a studio.
I wouldn't mind watching a Dark Tower movie. I rather be watching a Dark Tower TV series. I would just be confused if I watched both of them at the same time. But one thing I know for sure, none of us will be watching anything Dark Tower related for a long time.
And hey what do you know. Tee Fury has a pretty cool Dark Tower related T-Shirt on sale today (and today only. Get it before 12 o'clock US Eastern time)