If you've noticed how seemingly quiet the campaign around The Dark Tower's been, you're not alone.
Sony Pictures' major summer release has been of curious interest to industry insiders and commentators, with Variety now painting a fairly damning portrait of a troubled production scrambling to the finish line with its reputation intact.
The Stephen King adaptation has certainly had a long and rocky history; it's crossed the desks of J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard alike, with the latter at one point planning a series of interconnected films and TV shows with Universal.
The project eventually found its way to Sony Pictures, who seemed onto a major win with the epic fantasy series, alongside the hiring of Oscar-nominated Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel.
However, Variety's sources now claim the production is "plagued with problems and clashing visions", all in the attempt to make sense of King's expansive story of the Gunslinger (Idris Elba) and his eternal battle with the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) to prevent him from destroying the Tower, which holds the entire universe together.
The claims focus particularly in on the film's post-production and three test screenings held back in October, which apparently unnerved execs and showed the film to be "a mess", confusing audiences who struggled to grasp a hold of the mythology of the King's world.
Producer Ron Howard was reportedly wrangled in to help with the music, while co-writer and producer Akiva Goldsman helped flatten out the film's issues, and Sony chief Tom Rothman allegedly spent hours in the editing booth offering his input.
However, those involved are refuting the idea that The Dark Tower is in trouble and that Arcel was sidelined in any way, with Rothman saying he was impressed by his work and would be keen to work with the director again.
Arcel himself stated, "On a film with two studios and powerful producers, obviously there is much passionate creative debate on how to work certain ideas or beats. But I felt supported throughout, and they all looked to me for answers. If someone had jumped into my editing room and taken over — I would have left instantly."
"It’s a fantasy film and so yes, it’s complicated; it’s intricate and ambitious, but that’s a good thing because with the complexity of the stuff on television now, theater audiences want ambition," Rothman added.
Of course, all that matters is the finished product, with the first tricklings of reviews likely to hit the web soon. The Dark Tower hits UK cinemas 18 August.
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