Several movie adaptations of Stephen King’s novels are slated to arrive on some platform in 2017; including, Mama director Andy Muschetti’s It film (in theaters) and Oculus director Mike Flanagan’s Gerald’s Game movie (on Netflix). However, arguably the most-anticipated and slowest-developing King adaptation on course to hit the big screen next year is The Dark Tower, a film version of King’s western, sci-fi, horror and fantasy genre-blending, multi-installment, saga about the gunslinger Roland Deschain’s quest to find the legendary Dark Tower.
King wrote The Dark Tower series over the course of some thirty years (the first book, The Gunslinger, was published in 1982), so it’s perhaps fitting that the film adaptation took a relatively significant amount of time to finally get off the ground too. The Dark Tower co-writer and director Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) is currently in post-production on the project and was previously working towards having the movie ready to go for a February 2017 theatrical release date.
EW has now been informed by “sources close to the film” that Sony Pictures is postponing The Dark Tower to some as-yet unspecified release date in summer 2017. The reasoning for the delay is pretty straight-forward: The Dark Tower cost a relatively lean $60 million to produce and its budget would have needed to be significantly increased, in order to speed up its editing and visual effects-development to make the previously-set February launch date. Sony has instead selected to simply delay the film, rather than attempt to rush it through post-production at a higher cost.
That The Dark Tower would be delayed from its February 2017 date (after being set to arrive in January 2017 before then) has, admittedly, seemed more likely than not for a while now. Arcel only finished principal photography on the film back in July of this year, so the movie was always going to have to move rapidly through post-production to make its winter launch time. An incomplete version of the first Dark Tower trailer leaked online shortly before the first footage from the movie was supposed to debut at EW’s Popfest in October; offering further proof that the film isn’t as far along in editing as Sony originally hoped for.
The Dark Tower reads as encouraging news, for related reasons. The release postponement will give Arcel and his collaborators more time to fine-tune the movie; as opposed to, having to release a film with unrefined CGI effects and rough editing, just to make a certain date. This also means Sony can feel more comfortable about starting marketing for The Dark Tower closer to the end of the year, by premiering the first trailer with this year’s late November/December releases (including, Sony’s own buzzed-about tentpole, Passengers), several months ahead of its own theatrical bow.
Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are headlining The Dark Tower as Roland Deschain and his nemesis, The Man in Black, and Sony already has tentative plans to produce a tie-in TV series too, based on King’s 1997 Dark Tower novel, Wizard and Glass. With acclaimed talent on both sides of the camera (including, Oscar-winning co-screenwriter Akiva Goldsman) and the potential to kickoff a multi-platform franchise, The Dark Tower is a movie that Sony has all the more incentive to want to “get right” and not rush, either. Question is, what month will Sony move The Dark Tower to, seeing as the studio already has a pretty full release slate for summer 2017.
We will let you know when The Dark Tower gets a new theatrical release date.