Despite sluggish box office, studio still gauging interest in The Dark Tower TV series

Contributed by
Aug 9, 2017

How often do you come out of a movie and are greeted to a survey? This past weekend, some of the brave few who ventured out to see The Dark Tower were met with an exit questionnaire on whether they were interested in seeing a limited Dark Tower prequel TV series that is scheduled for a 2018 premiere and may play a big role in its production.

Showrunner Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead, Damien), who is also producing a Sin City television show, has been selected to head up the series that would cover the origin story of Roland Deschain. Expect the flashbacks from the first book, The Gunslinger, and the majority of the fourth book in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, Wizard and Glass, to be adapted in the series. One of the co-writers on the The Dark Tower screenplay, Akiva Goldsman, along with Imagine Entertainment, will executive produce.

It's reasonable to consider that the future of the television series could have hinged on the box-office performance of the film, especially since Idris Elba has already committed to the TV series. Unfortunately, critics were left soured at the The Dark Tower, which cost $60 million to make. Audiences followed their lead, as it underwhelmed with a $19.1 million opening, yet still finished No.1 at the box office in what is typically a slow month for ticket sales. Surely the bugles were preparing to play "Taps" for the TV show, right?

Not quite ...

According to Deadline, 83 percent of the audiences surveyed said that they were definitely or probably interested in The Dark Tower TV limited series, which, extrapolated with the percentage of the box-office numbers, equates to 4.0-4.5 million viewers who saw it over the opening weekend. In other words, MRC co-CEO Modi Wiczyk was pleased: "That is incredibly encouraging; what it shows is that there is a very big, excited audience for the show." This is a unique package where both a film and TV series are produced by the same studio. With these numbers, they can use that to shop the series to various networks.

Wiczyk continued, "People who have seen the movie are interested in a TV series whether or not they liked the movie; even if they didn’t like the movie, they were not turned off by that." He would go on to compare how the performance of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is independent of Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

“The success of the film has no correlation to whether the show will be successful or not; it has to stand on its own. All it means is that there is a receptive audience, so if you deliver something good, you’re in good shape.”

That’s good news for The Dark Tower fans who may come out of the theaters desiring a better translation, which the serialized format of television can offer over a feature-length film. That’s no excuse for the film’s adaption, but fans might agree with the notion that TV was probably a better place to explore King’s expansive and detailed novels.

Much more attention can be given to subplots and characterization, and oftentimes King's work needs the extended canvas of television to breathe. Mazzara is also a showrunner who fans can have faith in. He's shown he can expand on what's been done before, having run Damien for A&E, and carry out someone else's vision in The Walking Dead. He's also part of the group of accomplished writers from The Shield. Things are definitely looking up for the TV show.

Regardless of how the film performs in the end, are you interested in The Dark Tower limited television series?