After a decade in development and talent the likes of Damon Lindelof, J.J. Abrams, and Ron Howard taking a swing at cracking it, the task of adapting Stephen King’s The Dark Tower finally fell to Akiva Goldsman, a man who has a slew of box-office misfires to his credit. Goldsman is behind Transformers: The Last Knight, Rings, Insurgent, Winter’s Tale, Batman and Robin, Batman Forever, and Lost in Space, and yet he was still given the keys to what could have potentially been a huge franchise that extended from the big-screen to the small-screen. Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead) is still expected to serve as showrunner on The Dark Tower television series, which is currently in development, but its future may be in doubt after a disappointing weekend at the box office for the film. The two projects are said to be “independent,” but Idris Elba and Tom Taylor are expected to show up in the TV series.
The film from director Nikolaj Arcel received poor reviews (18 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), a lackluster Cinemascore (B), little good in the way of positive word of mouth, which all led to an anemic $19.5 million in its opening weekend. That’s not too terrible considering that the film only cost $60 million to produce, but it’s unlikely to earn back its budget domestically, which does not bode well for the TV series unless the network that ultimately takes a gamble on it can effectively separate it from the film. It is yet another failed attempt this summer to successfully get a franchise off the ground (following The Mummy and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword).
It also means that August is off to a poor start. The first weekend of August has typically been one of the last, best gasps of the summer season, but the opening of The Dark Tower puts it around 60th all time for August. To put that into perspective, The Dukes of Hazzard movie opened on the same weekend back in 2005 with a $30 million haul.