These days, the word "leak" doesn’t actually mean much in the entertainment industry. In the same way publicists label video releases as "our new viral video" long before anyone’s taken an actual interest, they label deliberate releases of advance tracks or publicity info as "leaks" to make a scoop-hungry internet feel like they’re getting something early and on the down-low. There’s something transgressive and secretive about the idea of actually getting some piece of entertainment before the massive corporation planning the marketing of that entertainment intends for it to be in people’s hands. And the massive corporations know that, and they’ve co-opted leaks as another regular release strategy.
But here’s a rarity: A trailer for a major, much-anticipated piece of entertainment that does appear to have actually been released accidentally and unintentionally. According to Flickering Myth, this trailer for The Dark Tower — the first installment in a possible series, adapting Stephen King’s seven-book Dark Tower series — went up on YouTube, accidentally posted by Sony Pictures Taiwanese division. It was quickly pulled, but it’s still up on Vimeo… for the moment. It’s fuzzy, some effects shots clearly aren’t done, and it's covered with internal labeling, all of which strongly suggest it's a real leak — this likely isn't how Sony wants its film seen. But for Dark Tower fans, it's still an exciting sneak peak. It gives a promising look at the approach director Nikolaj Arcel and the screenwriters are taking, in terms of starting outside Mid-World with a more mundane character. It looks like they may take their time in working their way into the series’ mythos, and getting to Idris Elba as Roland, and the larger story of The Gunslinger, the first book in King's series.
Update October 10th, 2:30PM ET: Sure enough, it's been pulled. For those of you who didn't get there in time, the trailer largely focused on Jake Chambers, the boy pulled from our world into Mid-World in King's novel The Gunslinger. The book is from Roland's perspective and focuses on his quest, but the trailer makes it look like the movie is far more about Jake's life before Mid-World, the images of the Dark Tower that flash in his mind, and his transition out of the world. There were a few key moments from King's writing, including Elba as Roland taking aim and saying in voiceover, "I do not kill with my gun, I kill with my heart." This may just be one way to frame the film's story, but it looked like the approach is designed to start new viewers off in our world and ease them into the epic old fantasy world where the series takes place.