Universal Passes on Ambitious Film & TV Adaptation of 'Dark Tower'

July 18, 2011
Source: Deadline

The Dark Tower

Back in September of 2010, an ambitious film and television adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series was confirmed to be set up at Universal with Ron Howard directing/producing alongside Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer with a script from Akiva Goldsman. However, when Universal wanted to scale back the budget of the project, its future became uncertain and some script work was being done to make it a little bit cheaper so it could stay at the studio. Now Deadline reports Universal has officially passed on the project leaving Howard and co. to find a new home for the unprecedented project.

Apparently Universal was willing to commit to a single film after reviewing the scripts for the first feature film and the first season of the TV series that would follow. Obviously, the producers weren't pleased with that as they wanted to shoot the series of TV immediately following the first film in order to utilize the same sets and keep the cast in place to shoot back-to-back. There's rumblings that Warner Bros. who are now backing Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit, might be willing to back the project since Goldsman's Weed Road productions is based there, but nothing is official yet.

As of now Universal has simply said that they love the project, but just doesn't fit in with their business model at this time. Considering they also passed on At the Mountains of Madness from Guillermo del Toro, and are still reeling from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World performing poorly at the box office last year, this isn't all that surprising. However, it's still upsetting. Here's hoping another studio has the cash and the balls to pick the pieces of The Dark Tower up off the ground and get this project moving sooner than later. In the meantime, it sounds like Ron Howard will have plenty of time to make Rush before tackling The Dark Tower.

Find more posts: Development, Movie News



smh, I just finished reading "The Gunslinger" too

darkobe on Jul 19, 2011


I hope WB does pick it up.  They seem to be the kings of big franchises, but in the meantime, this is all I have to say:

JL on Jul 19, 2011


I have hope in WB for something like this only because of Supernatural.

Nate Carroll on Jul 19, 2011


Wait...Universal has a business model? I guess their idea is passing up on awesome concepts such as this and Mountains of Madness...

JAPIV on Jul 19, 2011


I'm really hoping that the problem is with Universal having financial concerns and not concerns with the quality of what Akiva Goldsman was doing with the source material.  All this has done is remind me of the concerns I personally had when I first heard Ron Howard (director of A Beautiful Mind) and Akiva Goldsman (writer of Batman & Robin) were doing this. Hopefully it's just financial though, and any minor quality issues can be ironed out by the new backers.  I still want to see this as an HBO series or miniseries instead, as I think Game of Thrones has proven it can be done to great effect.

Outlaw on Jul 19, 2011


this actually sounds like something out of The Dark Tower..

Boon on Jul 19, 2011


It funny how this news is coming out just as the final Harry Potter film is in theatres.  Dark Tower is another 7 book series and this news sort of proves at how unique the level of commitment given to the Harry Potter series was. That's not to say that The Dark Tower won't get adapted eventually.  I personally wasn't a huge fan of this whole film/tv series plan and if the series does get adapted, I would want them all to be films and not films with some toned down TV series accompaniment. 

Sean Kelly on Jul 19, 2011


Bad move for Universal Pictures's so-called business model! That is just plain, short-sighted! I wouldn't be surprised if WB, or even Paramount picks this potentially HOT franchise in-the-waiting. With the "Harry Potter" franchise on it's, supposedly, last lap- I'm sure WB will be on the forefront of the bidding war that is about to ensue!

Spider on Jul 19, 2011


Warner Brothers should pick it up but Howard directing? Eh... Let's hope Disney and Fox don't because then it won't work for sure.

ate on Jul 19, 2011


Warner Brothers must now go for Indian Tales like Panchatantra or Vikram Baital......which is also interesting to kids as well as adults...or move to Arabian Nights........

Sunil Bhojwani on Jul 20, 2011


My favorit series of all time, I really hope they dont mess it up...

Kerumbum3 on Oct 17, 2011

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