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 Post subject: The Dark Tower Film Pipedream
PostPosted: November 24th, 2011, 3:33 am 
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People were talking in chat about how there still isn't material up. This is on the film industry, but the consensus in chat was that "beggers can't be choosers, go ahead and write something". It isn't editted, it was written at 1 am, and though I think my spelling is good, it's not spell checked.
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Stephen King's The Dark Tower. Long series, keeps getting longer. Some consider it his magnum opus (King included), some consider it pretentious crap, and some just consider it an extra long Stephen King story with another let down conclusion (not that I've finished reading them). Whatever your opinion, it's got a good strong fanbase, and that means money if and when it's adapted to film.

For those not familiar it's the quest of a cold blooded, single minded knight with guns named Roland who is the last of the gunslingers of a forgotten land. Travelling through dimension after dimension he gains and loses many friends in his quest for The Dark Tower, a place where he will call out the names of all who died on his journey. Several retcons later has him dealing with the forces of the mysterious Crimson King, though I didn't exactly finish reading the fourth entry in the seven book and growing series. This is one of my many sins that people tell me make me a bad person.

An epic series means many things to a movie studio: Guaranteed fanbase, guaranteed fanbase returning for many more movies, but unfortunately also quality control. The nice thing about adapting single or short stories is that studios are guaranteed their investment back, regardless of whether the movie is absolutely terrible. Before Uwe Boll came along and did further unspeakable things to the reputation of video game movies, this was pretty much why they had a bad rap. Hell, there was a time when movies based on BOOKS were considered guaranteed to be crap; even the original Dracula movie was considered to be terrible when it came out, and still kinda is (check out the Spanish version, or even the blatant silent era ripoff Nosferatu. Both have reputations for being great). The first movie to actually do away with this was The Godfather, and that was purely by the accident that the known-to-be-bad film maker Francis Ford Capolla suddenly decided he really liked this book and made his first good movie after convincing the studio to give him a higher budget (coincidently, actual mobsters worked on this film).

Any epic movie series, regardless of fanbase, presents a problem: Who will pay to see a second movie if the first one is bad? Movie studios consider this whenever they pick a series to be made. If the first film in a series is bad, they typically don't make sequels to it. Studios don't like taking risks with these, so they hier directors who are established and can stick to a budget, like Chris Columbus, to kick of long running series. They get the guaranteed quality at the known budget that will keep fans coming back for more. Even if the sequels are bad, the memory of the first one or two good ones will be enough for people to go back and watch Jaws 4: The Revenge.

Where does The Dark Tower fit into all of this? Once upon a time, there was an animator named Genndy Tartakovsky, and he made a series called Dexter's Lab. He also made Samurai Jack. He made Star Wars: Clone Wars. He made a lot of things, but rumor had it one thing he wanted to make was an ongoing series on HBO based on The Dark Tower. At some point, these negotiations fell through. Details were a little hazy, but if you ask me, it was a risk. Even on HBO, an ongoing epic series animated by an avant garde cartoonist, however well established, is a risk. What if it fails? What if it fails and NO ONE WANTS TO SEE ANOTHER VERSION? This is a problem. For whatever reason, negotiations fell through.

Jump a few years into the future. A guy named JJ Abrams is making movies and a popular TV show, and all of them are epic in scale and making massive amounts of money. Universal Studios buys the rights to The Dark Tower series, and enlists this man, who is very interested in The Dark Tower, to produce the film. His chosen director: Ron Howard, the little rascal responsible for Apollo 13 and more recently, some movies on da Vinci and his code. Two men well established in making big budget movies that make bigger piles of money. And they have plans to make this happen after the ending of a certain TV show, with filming to begin in 2011.

Jump to June, 2011. The worst has happened, my friends: Dev hell. The Hollywood Reporter writes that Ron Howard has other projects he's interested in, and they involve his best bud Tom Hanks. And it's technically a biopic, meaning guaranteed awards. Universal is refusing to confirm that development hell has happened once more, but of course they'll say that. No director wants to sign onto something that might not happen. Rewrites are going through the script, and 40,000 rewrites later, maybe the movie will get made.

What's my point in this long, rambling history of a cult book series and its movie? Studios don't make things because a good director wants to make them. They make things because they make money, and most adults aren't going to tune into extended cable to watch a fantasy cartoon, no matter how bad ass it may be. They would rather pay to go to a theatre to see a movie directed by a guy known for biopics. and with a producer who knows how to keep big things on budget on the next level up, the studio can't lose. Was Ron Howard the best choice to make this movie in the first place? Personally, I'd have rather seen Genndy make it. As a kid I didn't go out of my way to watch Samurai Jack, but having seen some episodes more recently, I can't deny that the surreal violence in varying times and locales was awesome. Even more awesome, it describes the book series The Dark Tower to the Ts.

Sometimes though, these matches are pipedreams. Sometimes big, epic series are pipedreams. The Dark Tower, in all its surreal violent glory, may be one such pipe dream. The individuals who may be able to do it true justice are not ideal money makers, and the individuals who are ideal money makers are often off making their own bags of money. Maybe someday this'll get made right, but here's hoping it's some time before King quits filling in the gaps with short stories.

Original Hollywood Reporter article: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/r ... ter-201073

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 Post subject: Re: The Dark Tower Film Pipedream
PostPosted: November 26th, 2011, 11:27 pm 
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Very interesting. Having read the series myself, I would love to see them as movies. I do think it's possible, though. You made some very valid points, but the first book ended in a way that allows for a test run on the big screen. If they marketed it as being a Stephen King joint, I think it would do well.

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