It’s no secret that The Dark Tower is held up as Stephen King’s greatest achievement.
Spanning multiple genres and fantastical worlds, the classic is an eight-part saga that began life in 1982 with The Gunslinger, and after years of false starts and scrapped plans, Sony’s big-budget adaptation finally arrived in theatres back in August. Though the film’s long, meandering journey to the silver screen was public knowledge, many still held out hope that somehow, everything would turn out alright for the trouble production. How wrong they were.
As we now know, The Dark Tower was a complete dud, both financially and critically, failing to impress just about everyone and halting the studio’s plans for a full-blown franchise. Granted, there is some chatter about a sequel moving forward, not to mention that TV series is also apparently still happening. But when it comes to the big screen, at least, one of the things the producers need to do if they make another film is ensure they aim for an R-rating.
That’s according to King, who pointed to The Dark Tower‘s PG-13 rating as one of the reasons it failed. Speaking to EW in a recent interview, he said:
“The real problem, as far as I’m concerned is, they went into this movie, and I think this was a studio edict pretty much: this is going to be a PG-13 movie. It’s going to be a tentpole movie. We want to make sure that we get people in there from the ages of, let’s say, 12 right on up to whatever the target age is. Let’s say 12 to 35. That’s what we want. So it has to be PG-13, and when they did that I think that they lost a lot of the toughness of it and it became something where people went to it and said, Well yeah, but it’s really not anything that we haven’t seen before.”
Continuing on, the author revealed that he expressed his concerns to the studio, but as is often the case, they fell on deaf ears:
“There was a decision made, too, to start it pretty much in the middle, and when they actually made the movie I had doubts about it from the beginning, and expressed them, and didn’t really get too far.
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Finally, King said he figured audiences would be a bit confused by the film, and it turns out that’s exactly what happened:
“Sometimes when people have made up their mind, the creative team that’s actually going to go and shoot the movie, it’s a little bit like hitting your fist against hard rubber, you know? It doesn’t really hurt, but you don’t get anywhere. It just sort of bounces back. And I thought to myself, Well, people are going to be really puzzled by this, and they were. So there was some of that problem, too.”
The author makes some good points about what went wrong with the recent adaptation, though the film’s problems run much deeper than just what he mentions here. Still, the source material is fantastic and if a sequel could improve upon where the first one went wrong, we’d be all for giving it another chance. The TV show, meanwhile, sounds intriguing, too, and we’re curious to see how it could all tie together.
Right now, though, it seems like any plans regarding The Dark Tower are very much up in the air – and understandably so – but we’ll be sure to bring you any further updates on the small screen venture, as well as any possible theatrical sequel, as soon as we have them.