‘Dark Tower’ vs. ‘Dunkirk’

The Stephen King adap­ta­tion is ex­pected to outdo the war epic with up to $25 mil­lion in box-of­fice sales.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Ryan Faugh­n­der ryan.faugh­n­der @la­times.com

The Stephen King adap­ta­tion is ex­pected to outdo the war epic with up to $25 mil­lion in box-of­fice sales this week­end.

The long-awaited Stephen King adap­ta­tion “The Dark Tower,” from Sony Pic­tures and Me­dia Rights Cap­i­tal, will kick off what is widely ex­pected to be a slow Au­gust this week­end as the movie busi­ness en­ters the home stretch of a rough sum­mer.

Ticket sales since the first week­end of May are down 8% in the United States and Canada com­pared with the same pe­riod a year ear­lier, to­tal­ing $3 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to ComS­core. That’s de­spite the suc­cess of re­cent movies in­clud­ing Warner Bros.’ “Dunkirk” and Univer­sal Pic­tures’ “Girls Trip,” which haven’t made up for such mis­fires as “The Mummy” and “Bay­watch.”

“Dark Tower” is ex­pected to re­place “Dunkirk” at the top of the box-of­fice charts with $20 mil­lion to $25 mil­lion in do­mes­tic sales Fri­day through Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts. The ac­claimed Christo­pher Nolan World War II epic, which has spent two week­ends in that po­si­tion and racked up $101 mil­lion in do­mes­tic grosses, should take in roughly $15 mil­lion. Mean­while, An­na­purna Pic­tures’ “Detroit” and Halle Berry’s long-de­layed “Kid­nap” will com­pete for au­di­ences’ at­ten­tion.

It’s fit­ting that a movie based on an eight-part Stephen King fan­tasy se­ries would en­dure a long and twisted quest be­fore hit­ting the­aters. The com­pa­nies be­hind it will soon find out if it was worth the wait.

The new movie, co-fi­nanced by Me­dia Rights Cap­i­tal, stars Idris Elba as no­madic gun­slinger Roland Deschain and Matthew Mc­Conaughey as his neme­sis the Man in Black. Sony says “The Dark Tower,” which fea­tures two ma­jor stars and dig­i­tal ef­fects, cost $60 mil­lion to make af­ter fac­tor­ing in pro­duc­tion in­cen­tives. The film, which clocks in at a rel­a­tively brisk 95 min­utes, saved money by film­ing mostly in South Africa.

King, not al­ways fond of adap­ta­tions of his work, is cred­ited as a pro­ducer on “The Dark Tower.” It was di­rected by Dan­ish film­maker Niko­laj Ar­cel, best known for the 2012 his­tor­i­cal drama “A Royal Af­fair.”

The big-screen fate of the “Dark Tower” se­ries has been a sub­ject of much spec­u­la­tion for at least a decade. J.J. Abrams orig­i­nally wanted to adapt the se­ries but later dropped the idea. Univer­sal Pic­tures then planned an epic “Lord of the Rings”-style tril­ogy and a tele­vi­sion se­ries with film­maker Ron Howard but balked at the fi­nan­cial risks.

King’s books have spawned mul­ti­ple film and tele­vi­sion adap­ta­tions, in­clud­ing clas­sics such as “The Shin­ing,” “Mis­ery” and “Car­rie.” But there have also been some no­to­ri­ous flops, in­clud­ing the widely panned “Dream­catcher.” New Line Cinema next month will un­leash its own King adap­ta­tion, “It.”

An­na­purna Pic­tures is mak­ing its pre­miere as a Hol­ly­wood dis­trib­u­tor with the wide re­lease of “Detroit,” the lat­est film from Os­car­win­ning di­rec­tor Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”). The drama, which cen­ters on civil un­rest in Detroit in 1967, is ex­pected to take in $10 mil­lion to $15 mil­lion Fri­day through Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple who have re­viewed au­di­ence sur­veys.

Re­views have been gen­er­ally pos­i­tive for its de­pic­tion of po­lice vi­o­lence against black men in a ho­tel, with a 95% “fresh” rat­ing on Rot­ten Toma­toes, pro­pel­ling the film to a strong $350,000 in its lim­ited re­lease last week­end.

An­na­purna Pic­tures, founded by Megan El­li­son, daugh­ter of Or­a­cle Corp. co­founder Larry El­li­son, pre­vi­ously only made movies for other stu­dios to dis­trib­ute. The West Hol­ly­wood-based pro­duc­tion com­pany is best known for adult dra­mas in­clud­ing “Her,” re­leased by Warner Bros., and “Amer­i­can Hus­tle,” dis­trib­uted by Sony.

The new thriller “Kid­nap,” which stars Halle Berry as a sin­gle mother on a mis­sion to save her ab­ducted son, had to be res­cued from its own high­stakes drama be­fore it could grace the mul­ti­plex.

It was pre­vi­ously sup­posed to get its re­lease from Ryan Ka­vanaugh’s Rel­a­tiv­ity Me­dia but was en­gulfed in the com­pany’s high-pro­file Chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy in 2015. The film, di­rected by Luis Pri­eto, suf­fered mul­ti­ple de­lays be­fore the pro­duc­ers took the project to Av­i­ron Pic­tures, a new in­de­pen­dent Bev­erly Hills­based en­ter­tain­ment com­pany run by David Din­er­stein.

“Kid­nap” is not ex­pected to do much busi­ness this week­end, with an­a­lysts pre­dict­ing about $8 mil­lion in do­mes­tic ticket sales through Sun­day.

Ilze Kit­shoff Columbia Pic­tures

MATTHEW Mc­CONAUGHEY in “The Dark Tower,” based on an eight-part Stephen King fan­tasy se­ries. King is cred­ited as a pro­ducer on the film. It cost $60 mil­lion to make af­ter fac­tor­ing in pro­duc­tion in­cen­tives.

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