Dark Tower the movie. Geez. Man, can you even really think about how big a flop that film really was? Does anyone whatsoever discuss Dark Tower with their friends or family, even derisively?
Just over five years since the movie came out, and it’s a completely lost footnote to the sands of pop culture time. In an era where brand IPs are more vital than ever, the long-gestating, incredibly hyped, star-powered first film to a major Stephen King franchise came and went like a generic studio programmer.
It released on August 4th, 2017. The last weekend of July and first weekend of August are traditionally reserved for one or two big final summer blockbusters to close out the season, ones that will last for all of August and past Labor Day for that traditionally dead September season. Sony Pictures positioned this film for the same breakout success that welcomed movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
That obviously didn’t happen, because Dark Tower ended up making $50 million domestic and $113 million worldwide on a $60 million budget. No disaster by any means, because the budget was under control, but for a big franchise launching event, it was staggeringly poorly received.
They got Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey to play the main roles, both huge A-list beloved stars. Seeing those two duke it out on the big screen was incredibly appealing on paper. This thing was supposed to have a bunch of sequels, supposed to have a TV spinoff, supposed to tie into other Stephen King adaptations like the also-2017 IT. But none of that came to pass because they made a crappy movie that nobody wanted to see.
Including me, mind you. I was honestly really excited for Dark Tower, based solely on “Idris and Matt Mc as weird fantasy cowboys” as the premise. But when the horrible reception came in, I didn’t even bother. Not even with Moviepass, because the film was out of theaters by the time I got my card.
It turned out that the lack of a final summer blockbuster for 2017 would help out a lot of the smaller stuff. Smaller adult action and drama movies like Hitman’s Bodyguard, Logan Lucky, and Wind River all did a lot better than expected, and each of them became kind of sleeper successes when they looked to be huge flops based on bad opening weekends. July blockbusters like Dunkirk, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Girl’s Trip also helped fill the vacuum and legged it out to incredible numbers.
Possibly, all of that was because those movies were all very good, or at least loved by audiences. But I’d have to attribute a large part of it to the fact that Dark Tower disappointed supremely and left a huge void in the entire month.
In the end, the Dark Tower movie left so little mark on pop culture that its only remaining legacy is that it helped a bunch of different movies become successes. That’s a sad way to be un-remembered.
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