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Universal rethinking this whole Dark Tower thing, may dump the project

05.06.2011

Just two months after pulling the plug on Guillermo del Toro's ambitious (and expensive) horror-adventure AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, Universal is getting cold feet about another expensive epic. The studio has had a series of meetings this week to discuss "budgetary complications" that have arisen on THE DARK TOWER and are reevaluating their plans for the franchise.

Last September it was announced that Ron Howard would adapt Stephen King's book series into a film trilogy bridged by a pair of TV series. Universal would release the films while NBC would air the series. It certainly seemed an ambitious plan though, given the scope of the books, one of the only ways to faithfully adapt the project. Howard and Universal may have bitten off more then they could chew though as production costs have been rising while doubts about the commercial viability of the project have grown.

As of today, Universal and Howard are still moving ahead as if the project is still on.

[UPDATE: Deadline is reporting that Universal has now halted pre-production and put all staff on hiatus until they reach a final decision.]

But next week a decision will be made as to the future of the project and it includes a few options. First, Universal could decide that they're nervous but optimistic and proceed as originally planned. This seems unlikely though as there's been enough fiscal concern to get to a point where they need to completely reevaluate their plans.

Second, the scope of the film could be cut drastically. Most likely the TV component could be scuttled while paring down the trilogy to a standalone film with at least the hopes of making future films. Lastly, Universal could put the project into turnaround and allow Howard and Imagine Entertainment to shop the film to other studios.

Javier Bardem is currently attached to star as Roland Deschain in the film but if there are any significant delays, his involvement could be at risk, only further jeopardizing the status of the already tenuous project.

If Howard is unable to get the film off the ground, it wouldn't be the first time a high-profile filmmaker failed in their attempt to adapt THE DARK TOWER. JJ Abrams and his "Lost" co-creator bought the rights to the series from Stephen King for $19 but eventually scrapped the idea.

Source: Variety

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+0
8:13PM on 05/08/2011

Awesome

Now hopefully Bardem will back out and if we're lucky so will Howard. Give it to HBO dammit.
Now hopefully Bardem will back out and if we're lucky so will Howard. Give it to HBO dammit.
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8:02AM on 05/07/2011

Sad but logical

It's movie BUSINESS, not a charitable association. And it looks unlikely it could make a profit it the movie (WITHOUT ad budget) cost north of M$200 !
People are saying "bring it to Warner, because they're not afraid of taking risks"...
AND WHAT GOOD DID IT BRING THEM ? Most of their last risky movies failed at the BO (including the 3 last Zack Snyder movies). So I bet they won't do anymore of these movies anytime soon...
It's show BUSINESS baby !
It's movie BUSINESS, not a charitable association. And it looks unlikely it could make a profit it the movie (WITHOUT ad budget) cost north of M$200 !
People are saying "bring it to Warner, because they're not afraid of taking risks"...
AND WHAT GOOD DID IT BRING THEM ? Most of their last risky movies failed at the BO (including the 3 last Zack Snyder movies). So I bet they won't do anymore of these movies anytime soon...
It's show BUSINESS baby !
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+11
12:51AM on 05/07/2011
Starz, HBO, or Showtime need to snatch this property up now. This is series material, not movie material.
Starz, HBO, or Showtime need to snatch this property up now. This is series material, not movie material.
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6:22PM on 05/06/2011

.

:/
:/
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4:40PM on 05/06/2011
Oh please let them cancel this thing!? The dude that made Splash and the guy who wrote Batman & Robin have no business being involved in this project. Micromanaging it as half a series and half movies was also lazy and disrespectful to the material. I hope Universal kills this thing and a couple years later a true DT fan and filmmaker can step aboard. It took Lord of the Rings close to 40 years to get made but when it finally happened it was amazing, I'm 28 now I can gladly wait till I'm 68 to
Oh please let them cancel this thing!? The dude that made Splash and the guy who wrote Batman & Robin have no business being involved in this project. Micromanaging it as half a series and half movies was also lazy and disrespectful to the material. I hope Universal kills this thing and a couple years later a true DT fan and filmmaker can step aboard. It took Lord of the Rings close to 40 years to get made but when it finally happened it was amazing, I'm 28 now I can gladly wait till I'm 68 to see all 7 books completed as either a kick ass HBO series or a 21 hour epic film. If Game of Thrones and True Blood get to be done correctly as HBO series there is no reason the same can't happen for Roland and the rest of the katet.
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+11
2:38PM on 05/06/2011

-_-

Screw a stand alone, kill the whole thing Howard if they pull that shit.
Screw a stand alone, kill the whole thing Howard if they pull that shit.
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1:20PM on 05/06/2011

Universal SUCKS....

They should join forces with the wiesiten bros. I'm sure they will think of some stupid shit to remake and fail on.
They should join forces with the wiesiten bros. I'm sure they will think of some stupid shit to remake and fail on.
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1:04PM on 05/06/2011
Thank the maker!
Thank the maker!
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3:32PM on 05/06/2011
Too much Dragon Age?
Too much Dragon Age?
+20
12:52PM on 05/06/2011
What is this Nokia T-Mobile shit on the left of my screen? And why can't I close it? Fuck.
What is this Nokia T-Mobile shit on the left of my screen? And why can't I close it? Fuck.
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12:45PM on 05/06/2011

Give it to HBO please!

Am I the only one that thinks movies would kill the story? If they hand it off to HBO or showtime, they could tell the story correctly and still pull the budget to get it done. Movies will just force them to edit the hell out of story until it is a shell of what made this series so powerful.
Am I the only one that thinks movies would kill the story? If they hand it off to HBO or showtime, they could tell the story correctly and still pull the budget to get it done. Movies will just force them to edit the hell out of story until it is a shell of what made this series so powerful.
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+4
12:16PM on 05/06/2011

lets not be naive

They only make movies to make money. You dont see Ron Howard suggesting he would foot 25% of the bill do you? No he wants someone else to pay so that if it crashes and burns, it wasnt his money lost. It corp america and its sad they only care about making money on the biggest returns they could give a squat about quality, they just want to make money. This is how you get Twilights and rom-coms bc they make money but suck critically. yo need a solid business model in todays world.
They only make movies to make money. You dont see Ron Howard suggesting he would foot 25% of the bill do you? No he wants someone else to pay so that if it crashes and burns, it wasnt his money lost. It corp america and its sad they only care about making money on the biggest returns they could give a squat about quality, they just want to make money. This is how you get Twilights and rom-coms bc they make money but suck critically. yo need a solid business model in todays world.
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12:12PM on 05/06/2011

Not Surprising

The scope of this thing was absolutely gargantuan. Considering the economy, it's not surprising that they have cold feet.

But trying to do a stand alone film will only ensure that it becomes a poor adaptation of the source material, ensuring the end of the franchise from the get go. A decision worthy of Unviersal.
The scope of this thing was absolutely gargantuan. Considering the economy, it's not surprising that they have cold feet.

But trying to do a stand alone film will only ensure that it becomes a poor adaptation of the source material, ensuring the end of the franchise from the get go. A decision worthy of Unviersal.
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12:04PM on 05/06/2011
All I can think about with these stories is the Universal execs sitting around their conference room cross-eyed and yelling "WE IS MOVIE COMPANY BUT MOVIES SCARY WE NO MAKE MOVIES SO WE CAN MAKE PROFIT YES."
All I can think about with these stories is the Universal execs sitting around their conference room cross-eyed and yelling "WE IS MOVIE COMPANY BUT MOVIES SCARY WE NO MAKE MOVIES SO WE CAN MAKE PROFIT YES."
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11:31AM on 05/06/2011

Delay...

Please... Universal, delay this as much as needed until Javier Bardem gets bored and leaves the project. He is the WORST. CHOICE. EVER. For Roland.
Please... Universal, delay this as much as needed until Javier Bardem gets bored and leaves the project. He is the WORST. CHOICE. EVER. For Roland.
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11:24AM on 05/06/2011
Well if they only bought the rights for $19 then it is not all that big of a loss...

But in all seriousness, they should try to shop the film to Warner Bros, they are usually not afraid to take a risk and throw down money a possible film series.
Well if they only bought the rights for $19 then it is not all that big of a loss...

But in all seriousness, they should try to shop the film to Warner Bros, they are usually not afraid to take a risk and throw down money a possible film series.
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11:21AM on 05/06/2011
Just do the movies and skip the show. It would be very difficult and strenuous to do both.
Just do the movies and skip the show. It would be very difficult and strenuous to do both.
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11:12AM on 05/06/2011

Finally

This is one of the best news articles I've read on this project so far.
This is one of the best news articles I've read on this project so far.
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4:48PM on 05/06/2011
Word my brother!
Word my brother!
10:43AM on 05/06/2011
Anyone else getting tired of Universal having these amazing projects lined up, only to pull the plug at the last minute because they're too chicken shit to take a risk? Let Howard take the project to Warner Bros., at least they have more balls (and more money as a result).
Anyone else getting tired of Universal having these amazing projects lined up, only to pull the plug at the last minute because they're too chicken shit to take a risk? Let Howard take the project to Warner Bros., at least they have more balls (and more money as a result).
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10:34AM on 05/06/2011

Ok

I still think they can't pull this off, and even less with Bardem as Deschain.
I still think they can't pull this off, and even less with Bardem as Deschain.
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10:26AM on 05/06/2011

I can see why Universal is sketchy...

Especially when they funded one of the most expensive box-office bombs of all-time .... WATERWORLD!
Especially when they funded one of the most expensive box-office bombs of all-time .... WATERWORLD!
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12:29PM on 05/06/2011
And yet, Waterworld was actually not too bad of a popcorn flick. Funny how that movie, with its original story and budget of $175 million can tank mostly due to negative criticism related to the budget...and 14 years later Avatar is made with a budget of $280 million, a blatantly unoriginal story, and walks away with awards and more money than Cameron knows what to do with.
And yet, Waterworld was actually not too bad of a popcorn flick. Funny how that movie, with its original story and budget of $175 million can tank mostly due to negative criticism related to the budget...and 14 years later Avatar is made with a budget of $280 million, a blatantly unoriginal story, and walks away with awards and more money than Cameron knows what to do with.
8:09AM on 05/07/2011
I'm tired of reading people stating WATERWORLD is THE BIGEST bomb of all time... OK, it cost M$175, and made M$88 domestically, but its worldwide gross is over M$260... Hardly Cutthroat Island level, don't you think ? And with TV rights, VHS, DVD, Collector's edition... it has even become a profitable movie.
I'm tired of reading people stating WATERWORLD is THE BIGEST bomb of all time... OK, it cost M$175, and made M$88 domestically, but its worldwide gross is over M$260... Hardly Cutthroat Island level, don't you think ? And with TV rights, VHS, DVD, Collector's edition... it has even become a profitable movie.
10:16AM on 05/06/2011
Shop it to WB. They usually are willing to try something different.
Shop it to WB. They usually are willing to try something different.
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10:06AM on 05/06/2011
I'm sad to see people putting effort into this only for it to be shut down, but at the same time, I don't think this would have been a good movie (series). The Dark Tower is brilliant, but it wouldn't adapt well to the screen.
I'm sad to see people putting effort into this only for it to be shut down, but at the same time, I don't think this would have been a good movie (series). The Dark Tower is brilliant, but it wouldn't adapt well to the screen.
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10:06AM on 05/06/2011
This is for the best. I don't care what anyone says but this story can't be told on the screen. Period.
This is for the best. I don't care what anyone says but this story can't be told on the screen. Period.
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+5
9:21AM on 05/06/2011

Tell God Thankya!

I don't think this ever would have worked.
I don't think this ever would have worked.
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10:04AM on 05/06/2011
I'm with you on this one. Thanee-Sai, you faceless SOB...
I'm with you on this one. Thanee-Sai, you faceless SOB...
+2
9:18AM on 05/06/2011
Well I hope they do..I was never happy with the idea of Howard and Bardem anyways..plus movies are never as good as their books they're based anyways.and allowing NBC rights to the TV series is just a bad idea...now airing it on FX would have been much better.
Well I hope they do..I was never happy with the idea of Howard and Bardem anyways..plus movies are never as good as their books they're based anyways.and allowing NBC rights to the TV series is just a bad idea...now airing it on FX would have been much better.
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9:04AM on 05/06/2011
This makes me happy. Come back JJ!
This makes me happy. Come back JJ!
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+3
9:01AM on 05/06/2011

dammit

I started reading the series about 2 months ago and am now on Book 4. Its fantastic, and I was really looking forward to a trilogy plus TV series. This really blows. Universal sucks. No wonder they keep making Fast and Furious movies.
I started reading the series about 2 months ago and am now on Book 4. Its fantastic, and I was really looking forward to a trilogy plus TV series. This really blows. Universal sucks. No wonder they keep making Fast and Furious movies.
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4:53PM on 05/06/2011
Keep reading it only gets better and don't worry this story is too good not to be told it just has to be told the right way with the right people this is all for the better.
Keep reading it only gets better and don't worry this story is too good not to be told it just has to be told the right way with the right people this is all for the better.
8:51AM on 05/06/2011
that sucks..but it's probably for the better
that sucks..but it's probably for the better
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6:24PM on 05/06/2011
You're right !
You're right !
6:24PM on 05/06/2011
But it still sucks ! lol
But it still sucks ! lol
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