5 Ways to Prep: Dark Tower
By George Rose
August 3, 2017
3) Ghost Rider 2 (2012, 17% positive, $57 million budget, $132 million worldwide)
Not only can Marvel NOT do it better but they started this whole mess to begin with. Well, technically Sony couldn’t do it better but, still, this proves even beloved source material and good actors can’t save the studios from avoiding a western/fantasy fiasco. In 2007, Sony spent $110 million to make Ghost Rider, received only 26% positive reviews and earned $228.7 million worldwide. Usually earning only twice the budget is not enough to cover advertising costs and lost earnings from the foreign markets taking their international cut of the profits. The classic Marvel property is about a stuntman that sold his soul and became a leather-wearing flamer on a bike... I mean a big gay bear... I mean Ghost Rider. How didn’t that not earn more money?
Later in the movie, the new Ghost Rider meets a former cowboy Ghost Rider (ugh) that lived in world before motorcycles so he rides a flaming horse (uuuggghhh). When a Marvel movie can’t make a good western/fantasy film, nobody else should try. When the second attempt is Jonah Hex, not only should the Ghost Rider franchise die but so should the genre. When Cowboys & Aliens proves to be the third critical and financial dud of the same genre mashup in just three years, you can see that the studios aren’t catching on to the lessons they should learn.
And just when you thought that maybe the third time was the charm, we come full circle in 2012 with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. I can understand other studios not learning from Ghost Rider’s mistakes, but why didn’t Sony learn on their own? Not even adding a beautiful chocolate man like Idris Elba could stop this sequel from sucking. The real shock is that this is actually the worst of the four western/fantasy movies mentioned and yet it was the only one that earned almost three times its budget, meaning it was the only one that might have earned a profit.
Maybe Elba is the lucky charm that will save Dark Tower from this very unlucky genre.
4) LotR: The Two Towers (2002, 96% positive, $94 million budget, $926 million worldwide)
Maybe the problem is that I’m focusing too much on Idris Elba’s gunslinging western cowboy and not enough about the Dark Tower itself. If it’s more about the tower, then things are looking up. Fantasy classics about towers have a better track record than westerns. Just look at the Lord of the Rings. The best part of that epic trilogy went on to earn ten times its production budget and won two Oscars. With a budget of only $60 million, The Dark Tower doesn’t need to earn a whole lot to be profitable. Anything more than $200 million worldwide should do the trick. I don’t imagine having half the towers will lead to half the earnings (or even half of the critical acclaim), but if Dark Tower can make even a quarter of Two Towers’ total than everyone wins.
5) On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (2001 award-winning book)
No matter how bad The Dark Tower is or how little it earns, I promise not to talk trash about it. Mostly because I don’t need the bad karma, but also because Stephen King deserves more respect than that. The man has written so many books and short stories that, like I said earlier, there’s no way they can all be good. If the film version of Dark Tower sucks, I’m going to blame either the genre mashup or the studio. Despite several disappointments from his collection, King still remains one of my icons and a true legend of Hollywood and Barnes & Noble.
I like to read but not fiction. I like my fiction in films. When I read the written word, I prefer there to be at least a hint of truth in it. I like educational texts and memoirs the most, which makes sense considering my favorite thing that King has ever written is a memoir that also serves as a how-to guide on writing. King is a hilarious guy with a coked-up past, proving he has true talent as a writer and is one bad-ass mother trucker. With so many stories already told, it was only a matter of time before he wrote one in the western/fantasy genre. There are many people to blame if/when the Dark Tower fails but Stephen, my future best friend, will remain a King to me.