Warner Bros Also Passes on Epic Film & TV Take on 'The Dark Tower'

August 20, 2012
Source: Variety

The Dark Tower

Earlier this month it sounded like Warner Bros. might finally be the studio to get the epic film and TV adaptation of Stephen King's seven-book series The Dark Tower off the ground. Ron Howard was still attached to direct for his own production banner Imagine Entertainment, and he and producing partner Brian Grazer had rounded up their A Beautiful Mind star Russell Crowe to take the role of Roland Deschain. However, it sounds like the project is heading back into development hell as Variety has learned that Warner Bros. has followed in the footsteps of Universal Pictures and passed on the ambitious project.

Imagine is now able to take the project to other studios, but Variety notes that many insiders believed Warner Bros was the best chance at getting the project off the ground, if only because of their HBO connection allowing for one hell of an uncensored TV series between films. Without that kind of pairing, the TV part of the project is more difficult to negotiate. This is a crushing blow to fans who have been waiting for this series for a while. The journey of this film to the big screen is becoming almost as hard to endure as Deschain's quest to reach The Dark Tower itself. Now the project goes back into development hell, and there's no telling if this will ever get in front of a camera.

Frankly, I understand the hesitation behind this kind of endeavor. It's very risky assuming that viewers will follow this story from the big screen, to TV and back again twice over, especially if the first film isn't a hit. When Univesal passed, there was a lot to be upset about because it was another instance of the studio giving up on a promising but risky project (see Guillermo del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness). With Warner Bros, I can't say I'm surprised, but I'm just disappointed. They made all that bank off The Hangover Part II, from a recycled story almost exactly the same as the first film, and they can't inject it into this inspiring, ambitious project? Maybe they're still reeling from Green Lantern, but with a team like Howard, Grazer and Crowe together, who received multiple Oscar accolades, this seems like a no brainer. Disappointed?

UPDATE: Deadline has word that Media Rights Capital, the company who just recently produced Seth MacFarlane's Ted, is now in "serious talks" to pick up the rights to the three film, two season limited run TV series proposed to adapt The Dark Tower.. Apparently Modi Wiczyk at MRC is a big fan of the series and is eager to continue the success they found with Ted and hopefully will have with Neill Bolmkamp's Elysium starring Matt Damon. Of course, just because they land the rights, doesn't mean the project will actually get off the ground. Stay tuned.

Find more posts: Development, Movie News



I want to scream and curse and rip my hair out. Guess i'll just have to fund it myself. *Sigh* Just gotta wait until i find 65 Billion Dollars.

Troy Ollis on Aug 20, 2012


It could really be something, why don't they just try one movie and go from there?

Sutherland Staatz on Aug 20, 2012


It sickens me that studios will continue to grind out fluff, crap and unnecessary remakes/reboots but is unwilling to fund truly ambitious projects like The Dark Tower and At The Mountains of Madness. Yes, if I was rich I'd fund them myself.

ronksenior on Aug 20, 2012


That's a shame. This is still a really bold concept. I would love to see SOME franchise get this treatment. Whether a popular series of novels or some other franchise. The idea of telling a broader story by having films with mini-series in between could work out fantastically.

Chris Groves on Aug 20, 2012


Better to not do it, then to do it half assed.

DAVIDPD on Aug 20, 2012


I hope this movie never gets made... Its too ambitious and can only fail... I cant bare to see my eddie, jake, roland, and susan get butchered by hollywood. These studios have forgotten the face of their fathers...

Joe on Aug 21, 2012


Many people said the same thing about LotR, but that turned out to be an amazing cinematic trilogy. I'm not saying now is the right time, but at some point The Dark Tower series will be done... correctly.

Robert Whitman on Aug 21, 2012


Ok, this is me leaning myself reeeally far out the window, but I am inclined to say that TDT is much more complex and intricate, and therefor more difficult to adapt for the big screen, than LOTR. Yeah, I said it.

SuicidalOptimist on Aug 21, 2012


Ron Howard has enough influence to do this film on an indie budget with private investors. The Dark Tower won't need fancy special effects - it's mostly a western with some crazy fantasy elements - and there are many scenes that take place in "our" world....I could easily see this as an indie. Hell...Stephen King should produce it.

Oct8pus on Aug 21, 2012


I don't think you're being very fair at all Ethan. Warner Bros may have made the Hangover 2 but they are still by far the most willingly risky major studio out there and from any perspective it is easy to see why one would pass on this project. I'm not sure how the deal is structured, is it a must that each part of the project is fulfilled? That could be a major stumbling block. No one with any financial sense will throw money into movies that may not even be made. How popular are these books? Will the audience come out to see them? Does Ron Howard even have what it takes to make a good adaptation? Angels & Demons was rather workmanlike. Thing is, they cannot guarantee a great movie, series or franchise and even if they could, the audience needs to embrace it and not all good movies are embraced. Although this would be unlikely, they should start it off as a TV series, that seems to take the risk of a huge initial budget and a concurrently filmed series away without any guarantee. It would destroy the blueprint but in that sense the money is smart not foolish.

BK on Aug 21, 2012


It would be cool if Lionsgate would take a look at it! Lionsgate has been cranking out flicks that audiences want to see! They seem to be the other studio, aside from WB, that has been taking bigger risks!

Spider on Aug 22, 2012

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