The Dark Tower - Problems in Post Productions
All in all, Stephen King's book series The Dark Tower contains beyond 4,000 pages. That being said, the screen adaption by Sony and MRC only has a length of 88 minutes (plus end credits) even though it contains the plot from several of the 8 books in order to tell the story. For that reason, it appears very unlikely that the movie will gross enough for the intended sequels to be realized. Considering that a TV show had been into consideration as well, this little movie starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey almost appears cute but certainly not epic.
Is this "short version" simply the result of a catastrophic post production including numerous miserable test screenings, recuts, reshoots, arguments between 2 studios, both having a "kill option" and King's influence over the final cut? It is being denied by some but confirmed by others.
According to several sources, the production company was not happy with Nikolaj Arcel's first cut. Getting external help had been considered but overruled because it would have been too expensive. Instead, Tom Rothman from Sony Pictures paid the cutting room visits on a regular basis. Not only that, he also gaves Arcel instructions because test screenings revealed that the story and mythology appeared incomprehensible to the audience. It is being denied by both Arcel and Rothman. According to them, anything Rothman did was pass along some notes - business as usual. But the major problem was the extraordinary deal between Sony and MRC who split the costs. Two companies both with their own vision and both having the right to reject the version of the other studio. That makes it incredibly complicated to agree on a product satisfying for both parties.
In order to hide some of the inconsistencies in the plot, reshoots for $6 million were made. Those are supposed to make the conflict between Idris Elba's gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey's "Man in Black" abundantly clear. In addition to that, the opening sequence with a length of 5 minutes taking place in Mid World, which is supposed to function as explanation for the setting, has been replaced by an alternate opening sequence because the original one appeared to be too confusing.
Rothman believes the complex story is still appealing and will find its audience because of that. Since the budget did not go sky high, in spite of the reshoots - all in all, the production costs are approx. $66 million - and the main characters of the movie which is rated PG-13 are being played by two very familiar faces, an economical flop can probably be avoided. Whether or not the movie is actually good, is another story.
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