Universal Cancels ‘The Dark Tower’

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

dark tower movie canceled Universal Cancels The Dark Tower

Ron Howard’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower has officially been canceled, ending the long-anticipated (and long-struggling) project once and for all.

Perhaps it was inevitable that The Dark Tower would be canceled. Despite having a bankable director in Howard and a big-name star in Javier Bardem, Universal put The Dark Tower into turnaround in May after executives became nervous over the project’s immense scale (which would have bridged a trilogy of films with made-for-TV specials).

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Today was D-Day for Dark Tower because the studio had a July 15 deadline to commit to the movies or not.” In retrospect, it seems that Howard was overly ambitious about The Dark Tower from the beginning.

Although Howard said he couldn’t stop talking about the film in December, the director has had a variety of projects in development since then. One was bound to overtake The Dark Tower in importance and it looks like it’s going to be the Formula One racing film Rush – starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor).

Given Howard’s enthusiasm for the film and the high-profile talent attached to the project, it seems like this might have been the best chance for The Dark Tower to hit the big screen. In fact, this cancellation begs the question of whether an adaptation of The Dark Tower will ever see the light of day.

Mark Verheiden writes dark tower Universal Cancels The Dark Tower

In a way, it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. A low-budget adaptation wouldn’t come close to conveying the epic scope of King’s series, but a big-budget project is too risky for many investors. Like so much of King’s work, The Dark Tower will probably have to settle for a less-than-stellar made-for-TV movie at some point down the road.

The Dark Tower is one of Stephen King’s most popular creations, and I know that there are tons of fans of the series among the Screen Rant faithful. What do you think of this news? Will The Dark Tower ever be made into a film?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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  1. *Cries

  2. Probably a good thing. One of my favorite series of books of all time. Bring it to HBO like Game Of Thrones. That is the only way it will be done well, in my humble opinion.

    • well thanks for your senseless humble opinion

      i wish it never reaches tv

    • I think there may be a just be a shot now that one of the many stations that look at AMC’s The Walking Dead and its other dramatic successes with deep comercial dollar envy and may just decide a long running series with an already frothingly faithful fan base might be profitable.

  3. *Looks to the sky……… “Nooooooooooooooo”

  4. Well I’m now officially bummed out. I am now completely convinced that Hollywood in general are a bunch of idiots. No wonder why we are stuck in remake/reboot hell, because too few are willing to take a risk.

    How is it that WB can manage to tackle a series like Harry Potter that spanned 8 movies but Universal can’t commit to this? If you can’t take the risk Universal then don’t start complaining when you are lusting over WBs quarterly revenue reports.

    I get that if the movie failed that the TV project would have already been started but the solution to this is just make them all movies or make the first one and then see what happens before committing to the whole thing. Oh look, problem solved.

    /signed completely disgusted

    • exACTLY! seriously, it should have just been done this way.

    • from the start*

    • are u serious, im glad its cancel u realise the god awful Akiva Goldsman was writing the script. this is the same guy who ruin every comic book movie i.e. Batman and Robin, Jonah Hex, The Losers.

    • I just read that Universal was willing to finance the movie but were unwilling to back both it and a TV series. So I have to now wonder if it was a bit unreasonable of the people pitching the deal to expect backing for both projects. I think the writers should have been willing to go with an all movie format.

      So I semi-retract my statement.

      Also it should be noted that just because Universal passed on it doesn’t mean it can’t be picked up by a studio. In fact, WB may indeed be eying this project to replace their now finished Harry Potter franchise. That would be the ultimate in irony if WB does back it and it becomes JUST as successful as Harry Potter.

  5. what the hell this just ruined my day oh well.

  6. lets just hope Ron Howard can focus on something a bit similar to get his mind of “Dark Tower”

    say… “Arrested Development” movie

    • i ment Smaller. I cant see how Arrested Development is any way similar to Dark Tower. LOL. i would mind production starting on either one though

  7. Not surprised. Universal has been cancelling good projects left and right, just look at Guillermo Del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness. Universal’s had a really bad few years, a lot of flops and lost money. The sad thing is they’re in this state because they took chances on ambitious projects that ended up losing them money. Prime example: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. They took a BIG risk making that movie and….it blew up in their faces. One of the best movies of 2010 and yet it was the commercial flop of the summer.
    So they’re playing it safe, churning out sequels, remakes and movies with lots of brand recognition, and passing on stuff like Mountains of Madness and Dark Tower.
    Which sucks like hell, obviously.

  8. Pathetic! Some of the crap that is made these days? Anyway, I would rather have a HBO or AMC series made of it anyway. If they did what they did for “Game of Thrones” it would be amazing. You really do need a large period of time to convey these novels and I believe a series would do it justice if done right.

  9. Give it to HBO. They could turn it into a fantastic series.

  10. This is Awesome. Javier looks nothing like Roland. I am with Ceed. This series needs to be on HBO, Showtime, Starz, or Syfy. If they put it in movie form they will just screw it up and the whole thing will not get made. If Universal wouldn’t have canceled, Nothing But Crap (NBC) would have.

  11. How is Javier Bardem a bankable star? He has had one real big break out role but has yet to break out of it.

    Meaning he was great in that one movie…. meh.

    I still get him confused with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (jokingly).

    • He isn’t a no name actor and he actually has some talent.

      • Im not disputing that however to call him a bankable star (IMO) is different then saying he is a capabale actor that could fill the role.

        I see a bankable star as someone that will pull people in regardless of the movie.

        I just dont think he is at that level.

  12. Yeah, I agree it would be better as a TV series, just give it to HBO and let them do it.

    • exactly, kinda feel the same way about Conan too.

      • That’d be good too. That Conan TV series they did a while ago was PG-rated and portrayed Conan as a jovial dude who traveled with other people. As much as I’m not crazy about gratuitous violence, that did strike me as being particularly ill-advised.


    the beams haven’t fallen my fellow gunslingers, mayhaps some other person will pick this up…

  14. HBO would definitely seem like the best way to go..

    Not fair to compare it to Potter because one is a PG rated property and the other is a R rated and sometimes hard R rated property..the size of the demographic is considerably less for the Dark Tower, when compared to Potter…

    I would love to see these books brought to the big or small screen as long as it is done with the care and respect the property deserves..Also Viggo M for Roland…In some of the artwork I have on the series I think that Jon Hamm would look the part with Rolands gear on…

    Disappointed but I think it’s a prudent move if they can’t give it the treatment it deserves..

    • Considering they were attempting to make part of this a TV series I bet they were shooting for the movies to be PG13.

  15. Gutted, but probably for the best.. I love the HBO idea however. How do we make that happen? :)

  16. I’m speechless. I guess this is the best thing that could have happened. Ron Howard was pretty intent on telling HIS version of the dark tower, which no one wanted to see anyways.

  17. I’m disappointed but not at all surprised. From the start it seemed like to big of a risk. Count me in as one who would like to see a series on HBO or AMC but not on SyFy. SyFy doesn’t have what it takes to do it justice and it would end up being pretty corny. I’ll push it to the back of my mind though because no matter what I think it will be a while before anyone attempts to get the project started again.

  18. Currently reading the series for the first time. On book four as of this writing and it’s quickly become one of my favorite series. Hopefully a worthy tv/film adaptation will come to frutition soon.

  19. As other posters have said I doubt a studio wants to risk putting money into a big-budget, multiple film project that might get an R rating. If it’s not in the vein of Potter or Twilight and can’t get that “tween” dollar it’s not a potential 200-300 million dollar box office gain.

    It’s a shame that some books are so hard to translate well onto film. A cable run might be better suited for something of this length and complexity.

  20. I think this is for the best. I would LOVE for this to be done on AMC with Viggo Mortensen as Roland as a season long series. This way it can be properly explored and done in depth. Heck, it could be done over a couple of seasons!

  21. harry potter gets 8 damn movies but Dark Tower cant get anything… its all B/S

  22. ehh id rather see the david yates stand reboot

  23. It seems to me that with the recent successes by the NETWORKS like AMC (Walking Dead), STARZ (Spartacus), HBO (Game Of Thrones) that DARK TOWER could see the light of day and proper like under the guide of one of these networks thats not afraid to do some R & R in the ratings realm of content.

    I admit I have never read THE DARK TOWER and so I don’t know if its is something that could be done as PG13 or if it requires an R but either way I would think one of these networks would at least entertain the concept of a Dark Tower adaptation. Thoughts?

  24. This King fantard for one is DELIGHTED at this news. I was excited when JJ ABrams was linked to the project; there was only dread when Howard was. Nobody could have done this justice.

    • Matt Dillon as Rolland and Ben Foster as Eddie

  25. I agree with BlueCollarCritic – it seems to me that it could be made into a series on HBO/Showtime/AMC and that could work out quite well.