‘The Dark Tower’ On The Verge of Collapse?

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

Mark Verheiden writes dark tower The Dark Tower On The Verge of Collapse?

Universal’s adaptation of Stephen King’s epic saga The Dark Tower is an ambitious project – set to include story elements from the main eight books as well as incorporate information from the novella and comic book series.

Now it sounds as if the immense source material, high-cost talent already attached to the project, and the over-complicated release plan for the trilogy (and supplementary TV installments), may be causing some executives to have cold feet.

According to sources close to Variety, despite the support of Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, the cost and long-term scope of the project have made Universal’s new owners at Comcast nervous – causing them to take another, closer, look at the plan and put The Dark Tower into turnaround (at least for the time being). While it sounds as if the majority of the concern centers on the complicated logistics and sheer size of the adaptation, a report from THR also indicates that the executives could also feel that the latter installment may not be on-par with the rest of the series.

The same sources indicate that Universal is currently weighing options ranging from a temporary halt to seek additional financial backing or potentially canceling the project outright – and that a decision should be announced soon. That said, it’s worth noting that Michael Rosenberg (president of entertainment at Imagine) is denying The Dark Tower adaptation has hit any snags.

However, beyond the long-term commitment of adapting this much written material into a cohesive and satisfying cinematic experience, there’s no doubt that Universal’s choice to further complicate the process by releasing the filmed content through alternating movie and TV projects – with the televised portions filling in the gaps between the larger blockbuster features – will require an extremely complex (and expensive) marketing campaign. As a result, it’s understandable why the Comcast execs might be a bit weary.

While certainly a high-profile printed franchise in the comic book and sci-fi community, The Dark Tower doesn’t have the same kind of casual audience name recognition as other large-scale book adaptations such as Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia. This isn’t to say that director Ron Howard coupled with an Oscar winner Javier Bardem couldn’t offer-up a film (and TV) experience that would keep fans, and newcomers alike, coming back for each installment.

RolandDeschain The Dark Tower On The Verge of Collapse?

The Chronicles of Narnia film franchise, now on its third installment, has fallen short of expectations over the last few years – as a result of filmgoers growing tired of the drawn-out series. Certainly, as a trilogy, The Dark Tower would be a much tighter narrative than the one movie per book format Narnia embraced. However, given the ambitious release plan, Universal would be committing to a much bigger project than a normal film trilogy – with the marketing campaign constantly hyping the next TV installment as the release of the prior feature film winds down, and vice versa.

In order for the plan to work, Universal would have to maintain momentum in more than one medium for over half a decade – so that no viewers fall-off and get left behind. The studio could always halt production in the middle of the series, should it fail to ignite the box office – but by the time executives would have a chance to truly analyze the success of even the first film, they’d already have one TV installment en route – and at least be in pre-production on the second film.

Since we’re hearing conflicting reports, Dark Tower fans shouldn’t panic – yet. Even if the project is killed-off at Universal, Howard and Co. could take the project to Sony (who enjoyed success with Howard’s Da Vinci Code films) or Warner Bros. (who previously attempted to snag The Dark Tower rights last year).

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick and let us know how you’d like to see The Dark Tower make it to the big screen.

The Dark Tower was expected to arrive in theaters in 2013. We’ll keep you posted when we hear official confirmation one way or the other.

Source: Variety

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  1. I really hope someone green lights this project. The audience is there. Word of mouth will be a huge marketing tool for this project. Get it done guys!

  2. Ben, you mentioned a Novella? Am I missing something here?

    • The Little Sisters of Eluria
      It is in Everything’s Eventual

      • a very good read by the way.
        They’ve turned it into a graphic novel as well.

      • Cody, I myself consider that more of a short story, but to each his own. :) The Different Seasons stories are Novellas.

    • yeah marvel teamed with king and came out with a prequel series of graphic novels and is now moving into the actual story.

  3. GOOD

    Anything that keeps the horrible writing of Stephen King off of television or the Movies is a plus in my book.

    • to each their own.

      • Agreed.

    • i think you hsould be reading up on something elsed then and keep your opinions to yourelf

      • Guess I wont Hollie so get used to it.

    • Spoken like someone who has never READ any of the Dark Tower novels. Fantastic series. I’m not sure if I am relieved or disheartened by this news. I REALLY REALLY want to see this on the big screen and I think Bardem would be a great Roland, but I have my doubts about Ron Howard adapting a King series to the big screen. Now if Guillermo del Toro was making this series, then I would be REALLY excited to see it.

      • Sorry Andy but I do not read King, in my opinion his writing is not as good as most of the other writers of Fantasy, such as Robert E Howard and Edger Rice Burroughs or even some of the modern counter parts.

        Add in that King is an American hating loon and he hits the bottom of my favorites list.

        • If you have not read any of the series then your opinion on the release of these films is completely ungrounded, and to assume that the books are bad purely based off of your past experience with King books (if you have had any?) is nothing short of ignorant.

          • I see, so based on the fact that most of the movies made from Kings books have been less than legendary and the fact that I detest the man personally for his Anti American and Anti Military stances means I have no say in something he is trying to sell to the public??

            Hmm, sorry but I disagree, and really that is the basis for these forums to express the opinions and ideals of the people who bank roll these projects. King is an over rated writer and he doesnt deserve half the success he has had in his career.

            • I agree 100%, if someone is anti-American or anti-military it is our right to boycott the scum. That being said, he can write a hell of a story. Turning them into movies, have been failures yes. But his writing is superb. His endings may come to screeching halts but the journey is great.

            • Carrie, The Shining, Children of the Corn, Firestarter, Pet Semetary, Stand By Me, The Lawnmower Man, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist, Misery and It are all works by King that have made successful transitions to the screen.

              There are others, too, but those have been the most popular and well-received.

              • Pet Semetary was a shadow of the book. Not even close to one of the best adaptations.

            • Link the anti-american stuff. I want to see it in print, signed by him. I have no flippin idea what you’re on about.

            • Aleric, I would suggest to you that if you watch movies of King’s work, they will give you little to no idea of the quality of his writing. I would also say do not compare him to Burroughs of Howard. (I am well read on all three). Burrroughs and Howard are fantasy\sword and sorcery, while King is (mostly)contemporary fiction, with a STRONG lean towards horror. Reading King with an expectation of B or H will cause disappointment. With the exception of The Dark Tower,( not his best work, by the way), King does not really write fantasy. As for the anti american stuff, that is ground breaking news to me, and VERY disappointing. Where does this information come from? I would very much like to know whether or not this stuff is true. It could change a huge chunk of my recreational life.

              • You asked for it you got it.



                I knew you wouldnt believe any of the sites with transcripts. Of course anyone can go online and read all the other stuff he says about how bad america is, simply enter his name and put the subject behind it.

                • Yes, this man is Anti-American and Anti-Military (being sarcastic by the way)

                  • A month late to the party, but …Wow. 13k for a guy who has hundreds of millions, is equivalent to maybe 13 cents for you or I, so I am not overly impressed by the gesture. However, unlike my 13 cents, this gesture was able to make a whole lot of people happy, so it’s still a pretty cool thing to do any way you slice it. Doesn’t make up for the fact that he made an extremely irresponsible comment in front of a room full of children. I’m sure that if he could hit the backspace button on that one, he would’ve. One thing I can say in his defense is that many good writers are socially stunted in some way or another, and make horrible orators. Just because someone is a good story teller, doesn’t necessarily mean they can tell a good story.

  4. Take it to Warner. They have made buttloads off the Harry Potter films and with that series ending, they can afford to take the financial risk, and since they own HBO, they TV part can be produced with the higher budget for the fans. Make this series right!

  5. the beams
    they’re collapsing

  6. I think they should completely cut out the movie aspect and do it in the same way that True Blood, Dexter, and Walking Dead have gone. Use the source material to create a television series and base every season off a single book. This allows them to fill in all the details of the book without having to cram it into a 3 hour movie. Put it on HBO or Showtime if you want to have no restrictions on content or put it on regular television to reach out to the boarder audience.

    • I agree 100%, it would be the perfect format , ala Deadwood. 7 books 7 seasons. Gunslinger is a very short book so the first season could be done in a limited season , just like Walking dead instead of 24 episodes go with 12 or 13 and see how it goes.

    • Nooooooooo! Then I will never get to see them! (Sorry but I don’t subscribe to any movie channels and I never will)

      I’m already missing the Game of Thrones, Dexter, Spartacus and a couple of other decent, movie channel only shows. I don’t want to add another one to the growing list.

      • Those can be found online, either on websites or in the form of a torrent.

        • Well the only real avenue to pursue for me is renting them from something like Netflix (but I don’t own a PS2, XBox or Wii) or buying them (but I generally don’t buy since they just end up collecting dust after being watched once). And HBO (and other movie channels) are not in the habit of posting full episodes on their sites.

          I know you can DL the most recent stuff through torrents (even movies in theaters) but doing so is illegal so I avoid it like the plague.

          Would be nice if something like Redbox had them for rent. :/

  7. Last time I counted there were seven main books, plus graphic novels and novella.

    • And an 8th on the way. Between 4 and 5. Publication date is 2012, The Wind Through the Keyhole

  8. I was really looking forward to this, I’m hoping these are in fact just rumors. For me its got to be all or nothing with this. With Howard and Bardem on board it sounded like they were ready to take it seriously. But if budget concerns are already rearing their head, it assuredly does not pose well for it’s continued success. I believe that’s why most projects based off King’s work have been subpar. Budget. If they can’t do it right and give it the respect it deserves then they shouldn’t do it at all.

  9. Ehh, they’re just waiting for the dollar to regain some of its value, some costs to go down, and the script as a whole to be refitted.

    Turn around isn’t necessarily the end of the road…

    • at least there is one voice of reason here :)

      • A voice of reason would not assume the dollar is going to go back up :)

  10. I hope this doesn’t go to film, because Javier Bardem is all wrong for Roland in about a hundred different ways.

  11. Of course there are budgetary concerns. Look at the scope of whats being attempted. If they go the movie route, thats a lot of movies to make, especially on the “blockbuster” scale. Cheesy movies like Friday th thirteenth and nightmare on elm street go on for years, but I assume their budget is way low. If they go tv, tv fans watch their favorite shows for years and years, but IMO,tv adaptations of novels like these are usually cheesy and not entertaining at all. Plus, tv is currentlly bombarded with syfy channel type crap,( alot of it centering around vampires and werewolves,for some reason), and this project could be received as more of the same. They would have to capture a fan and a general audience, and it would be risky. As for going both mediums like they are suggesting, has that ever been done? Of course there are budget concerns.

  12. Um, you all did see what Ron Howard did to the Dan Brown books, right? Ending this while he is attached is not a bad thing.