Universal passes on The Dark Tower: is the project dead?

News Simon Brew
19 Jul 2011 - 07:00

Stephen King’s The Dark Tower has hit a major stumbling block on the way to the big screen, as Universal has passed on funding the project…

For the last few months, there's been no shortage of work being done to help bring Stephen King's The Dark Tower to the screen. With Akiva Goldsman on script duties, the plan was for Ron Howard to direct at least part of the project. The idea was for the seven novel series to be turned into three movies and two seasons of a TV show, and it's comfortably one of the most ambitious projects that Hollywood has ever tried to put together.

Javier Bardem was set to star, and it seemed that the casting work was underway. But, for the second time this year, Universal has pulled the plug on a massive movie project.

The first was Guillermo del Toro's planned adaptation of H P Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of Madness, which was deemed too expensive by the studio. And it looks like The Dark Tower may have met the same fate.

According to Deadline, Universal was only willing to commit to one film at this stage, which was a deal breaker as far as the filmmakers were concerned.

So, what now? The project will certainly have an uphill battle, but it doesn't face an impossible future. The hope now is that another studio will come in and pick up the bill, with Warner Bros named as a possibility. Warner Bros has just seen one franchise come to an end, with the final Harry Potter film breaking box office records around the world. Furthermore, the current iteration of the Batman franchise ends next year, and it's fair to say that Warner Bros will be shopping for a new tent-pole collection of movies. Might The Dark Tower fit the bill?

Even if it does, this is going to set the project back quite a lot of time. And should the money fall into place, a 2012 release date is nonetheless looking really quite ambitious.


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