Finally, after what feels like years of dissection and speculation, Sony’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower will arrive in theaters this weekend. Being big King fans here, we’ve tried to maintain an optimistic view of the project, but the pushbacks, reshoots, bizarre marketing strategy, and mealy-mouthed statements from its core crew have us wary.
It certainly sounds like it was a troubled production, and a new piece from Variety appears to confirm that. According to multiple sources, the film’s post-production was a mess, with early screenings bombing with audiences and studio executives being “heavily involved” in the editing process. It’s also said that director Nikolaj Arcel was “in over his head on the $66 million fantasy film.”
The film was also hurt by the bizarre partnership between Sony and MRC, which granted MRC having the ability to “kill rights” on everything from the marketing campaign to the film’s final cut. King also had “veto approval of almost every aspect of the film.”An insider tells Variety there were “too many cooks in the kitchen.” If true, this shines a little light on the film’s lack of trailers and marketing in the months leading up to its release.
All that said, Arcel and the studio executives claim everything is aces.
“On a film with two studios and powerful producers, obviously there is much passionate creative debate on how to work certain ideas or beats,” Arcel said. “But I felt supported throughout, and they all looked to me for answers. If someone had jumped into my editing room and taken over — I would have left instantly.”
MRC’s Modi Wiczyk also responded. “We shot this on time and on budget,” he said. “We didn’t go over our schedule by even a day.”
He’s joking, right? According to the piece, six million dollars was spent on reshoots. The purpose of these reshoots were “to fill in more backstory about Elba’s character’s hatred for McConaughey’s Man in Black. In addition, to better familiarize audiences with Mid-World, the film’s magical setting, five minutes of exposition were cut and a new scene was shot to combine ideas that had been sprinkled throughout the picture.”
Of course, this doesn’t all spell doom. Plenty of films have emerged intact from production hell and, as such, we’ll continue crossing those fingers. That said, notorious film ruiner Akiva Goldsman is said to have been brought onboard to help “wrangle the film into shape” so we’re not crossing them too hard.
For more discussion on The Dark Tower, tune in to Consequence of Sound’s own Stephen King podcast, The Losers’ Club. We’ll be sharing our review of the film in our next episode, which drops Thursday morning.