‘Dark Tower’ Film Pushed Back … Again

By November 4, 2016
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A film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower has been delayed again. But by now, fans of the popular book series should be used to it.

Luckily, however, the delay will only be five months as Columbia Pictures has bumped the film from its Feb. 17 release date to July 28. The reason, according to Entertainment Weekly? The timetable to have a completed film that just wrapped up photography six months before in theaters by February was too ambitious.

A trailer leak last month featured mostly rough visual effects, and the filmmakers have discovered that the aggressive February timeline isn’t enough to get the sci-fi/fantasy epic into shape, given its financial constraints. The film has a surprisingly low cost of about $60 million, and the choice was either to add millions more to the budget to speed up the work, or push to a later date.

elbadarktower110416The film, directed by the up-and-coming Nikolaj Arcel, stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, a frontiersman who prefers to speak with his twin revolvers. Joining him his Matthew McConaughey as Walter Padick, a sorcerer who wants to reach a tower that reportedly stands at the nexus of time and space so he can rule over its kingdoms.

The Dark Tower‘s journey to this point has been a long and arduous one. In fact, J.J. Abrams was originally attached back in 2007 when Lost first became a television hit for ABC. He planned to work with writer Carlton Cuse to turn the story into a series of films – but one that started to look daunting after Lost continued to grow in complexity.

Abrams’ option on the story ran out in early 2010, allowing Universal Pictures to step in, with Oscar-winning director Ron Howard set to helm the project. Universal’s plan was to create a film trilogy based on the King books, linking them through a television limited series project that would’ve ultimately appeared on HBO.

In 2015, after Universal and Warner Bros. both passed, Media Rights Capital – a financing company behind films like Elysium and television series like House of Cards – grabbed the rights and immediately began working with Sony Pictures Entertainment to bring The Dark Tower to life, closer to how Abrams originally intended.

Because of all that, The Dark Tower has a number of writers credited on the project, including Arcel, Akiva Goldsman, Anders Thomas Jensen and Jeff Pinkner.

Another issue plaguing the project in its old release date was the complete lack of marketing. With the film just four months away, not a single trailer had been released, and Columbia even dropped out of an event hosted by Entertainment Weekly because it didn’t have footage ready to be previewed yet.

gunslingercover110416King started the novel series in 1982 with The Gunslinger, and continued it through 2012 with The Wind Through the Keyhole.

The premiere move does seem to fix another problem as well. The Feb. 17 release had become crowded with new wide releases, including the Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe film The Great Wall from director Zhang Yimou, as well as the Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan comedy Fist Fight.

However, fantasy audiences might be a little torn on July 28. There is only one wide release scheduled so far for that date, but it’s a doozy – Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.