Idris Elba is The Gunslinger in The Dark Tower. Image: Sony
A new Dark Tower promo video was just released. It’s called “Connected KINGdom,” and points out that The Dark Tower is the center of a Stephen King universe that includes various other stories, many of which became very well-regarded films themselves. What does it fail to talk much about? The Dark Tower.
If it had been released six months ago, I’d be going bananas for it. But released just over a week before the film’s release, this video incredibly discouraging. It’s 50 seconds of The Shining, It, Carrie, The Shawshank Redemption and The Stand and 10 seconds of The Dark Tower. Here, see for yourself:
Granted, the video is cool, but this is usually the time when studios release copious amounts of footage to promote their movie. It is genuinely weird — and slightly troubling — that we’ve seen so little of The Dark Tower movie, especially this close to its release date.
It also feels like a disservice to the final film to release a video ostensibly saying “If you like The Shawkshank Redemption, maybe you’ll like The Dark Tower.” It would be much more exciting (and enticing) if we could see the hopefully awesome scenes between Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba, and think, “Man, I can’t wait to see more of that in the movie.”
This is not the first time this has happened, either. Earlier this week, Sony released this Twitter video that gets even more specific, showing examples of King references in the movie itself. It’s obvious they want people to know how The Dark Tower weaves in these other works.
— Dark Tower (@DarkTowerMovie) July 24, 2017
Again, it’s cool, but the choice to focusing the marketing on King’s older work instead of The Dark Tower itself is disheartening.
Now, to be fair, it is genuinely refreshing to be so spoiler-free about an intended summer blockbuster. And all the people who don’t know about The Dark Tower could see this video, learn about the connections and allusions to King’s other famous works, and be alerted to how important this story is in the grander scheme of things Stephen King.
But, to me, it doesn’t feel like that. Instead, it feels like a Hail Mary attempt to entice the uninitiated. Like the studio finds the movie’s connections to King’s other famous work more interesting or marketable than the movie itself. It doesn’t feel like a vote of confidence.
This sucks, because The Dark Tower is such a great story with such great potential. The cast is great, too! I guess we’ll find out next week to see if I was right to be worried.
We contacted Sony for potential comment on the marketing decisions and will update the story if we hear back.
The Dark Tower opens August 4.