Some thought on The Dark Tower at HBO
Ron Howard’s planned adaptation of The Dark Tower was one of the most closely watched cliffhangers in Hollywood history, along with the recent budget battle over The Lone Ranger.
Many were indeed very disappointed when the other shoe finally dropped at Universal, and the studio passed in order to shoot more Fast and Furious movies. Of course, Guillermo Del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness also got the shaft in this regard as well.
While Deadline reports that nothing is set in stone just yet, the idea of The Dark Tower winding up at HBO definitely feels right.
I can’t help but get a feeling of déjà vu thinking back to when a lot of talented writers and directors fled to television and cable in the late ‘90’s - simply because they got tired of seeing their movies being rewritten into garbage, or getting stuck in the development hell quagmire.
This also feels like déjà vu looking back to King’s groundbreaking horror mini-series Salem’s Lot in 1979, which was originally going to be a theatrical film directed by George Romero before it shifted to Warner Television.
Many of King’s novels are too lengthy to fit into one film, which is why the theatrical version of The Stand, which again Romero was going to direct, couldn’t get off the ground. Ron Howard and company may not have as much financial freedom working for TV, but they’ll be granted a lot of creative freedom - yet another big reason a lot of filmmakers fled to TV and cable. TV schedules are too tight to rewrite scripts endlessly, and the writer is usually king on a show.
With The Walking Dead still generating big ratings, The Dark Tower would be infinitely better off on HBO, even though the theatrical version is still being planned, with HBO possibly doing the connecting episodes between films.
Still, where there used to be an enormous gap between movies and television in terms of quality and prestige, there’s a hell of a lot more room for creativity, freedom, and quality storytelling on TV these days. It is also probably be a lot easier to keep people coming back to a story every week on cable, rather than being forced to keep a series in the public eye at movie theaters.
Again, none of this is set in stone right now, but you would think that The Dark Tower will have an infinitely better chance at getting made at HBO with its integrity intact than with a major studio these days.