What 'The Dark Tower' and 'It' Running Times Tell Us

What 'The Dark Tower' and 'It' Running Times Tell Us

Aug 01, 2017

The Dark Tower

This week, the action-adventure The Dark Tower opens in theaters. Next month, the horror thriller It promises to terrorize moviegoers. Both are the latest screen adaptations of source material by legendary writer Stephen King; each has taken a very different approach, as suggested by their respective running times.

Running just 95 minutes, The Dark Tower promises to be a very lean thriller, which may sound surprising for those who know that King's original series included eight novels, totaling more than 4,000 pages. On social media, King himself has indicated his approval of this approach.

Director Nikolaj Arcel told Slashfilm: "This is ideally the first film. This is an introduction to the world and the characters. It’s not meant to be all the novels and we’re just trying to cram everything in there. … You just build the basic ideas. And if people enjoy it and if they like this world and these characters, we can start expanding."

We noted previously that the movie "is not an adaptation so much as a continuation of the books. It's also the start of a franchise that will continue on television but also retroactively connects to past movie versions of King's stories." If things go well, The Dark Tower will introduce moviegoers to a very distinctive slice of Stephen King's creative universe that will steadily expand. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey star; it opens on Friday.

 

It

The upcoming It is based on King's massive novel. First published in 1986, the book numbers more than 1,100 pages. When first adapted for television in 1990, it was broadcast as two episodes, running a total of 192 minutes.

The running time for It has now been announced and it turns out it's even longer than expected: 135 minutes. While it's true that, for example, Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of King's The Shining ran even longer (146 minutes), it's quite unusual for a horror thriller to run that far in excess of two hours, especially since we know that scenes cut from It are being saved for the planned sequel.

What may that indicate about It? Speculation has been running rampant lately; Slashfilm captures one train of hopeful thought: "This is evidence that [director Andres] Muschietti and his team are focusing on character and story in addition to the scares, building a movie that has the time and space to really explore the dynamic of this world during the scenes when the shape-shifting clown monster isn’t murdering children."

In other words, even though The Dark Tower and It both take their inspiration from Stephen King, their screen versions are as different as the printed originals. Potentially, that's a very good thing. Look for It in theaters on September 8.

Categories: News, Geek, Horror
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