Over the last year or so three big budget films from A-list filmmakers were put on hold by Hollywood studios due to their massive costs. The Lone Ranger had Johnny Depp starring as sidekick Tonto, with Jerry Bruckheimer producing and Gore Verbinski calling the shots. At The Mountains of Madness had Guillermo Del Toro attached to direct with Tom Cruise starring and James Cameron producing, while the final film was Ron Howard’s adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, with Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman penning the script and Javier Bardem in the lead role.
The Lone Ranger finally got to saddle-up in front of cameras when the budget was scaled back from $260 million to $215 million, while yesterday it came to light that At The Mountains of Madness may not make it to the screen due to similarities with Ridley Scott’s forthcoming Prometheus. However, there now appears to be some light left in Howard’s Dark Tower.
The Dark Tower was first announced in 2010 by Universal Pictures as a movie trilogy and a television series, but the studio got cold feet on the project last year, pulling the plug and putting the film into turnaround. Recently there was news that Warner Bros. was interested in picking up the trilogy and the series (which would potentially air on HBO), but nothing was set in stone. It seems like Howard is still working on the project as he tweeted:
“Spent day today in a story session on...Dark Tower :-) Terrific meeting w/ Akiva Goldsman & Erica Huggins No timetables but very positive.”
It’s good news for those who have been anticipating this adaptation, as it shows that Howard is still actively developing The Dark Tower, but as Howard states above, it’s only a “story session,” the greenlight to shoot is not a sure thing. Reading between the lines - it appears that Howard, Goldsman, and Huggins are trying to fit the story to suit a budget that appeals to Warner Bros. so that it will be economically viable to produce such a mammoth project.
Even though it is based on a successful series of books, The Dark Tower is far from a sure thing at the box office-as the tepid grosses for the R-rated The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo illustrate, so I'd imagine that Warner Bros will be making sure that they make this for a good price. After all, I’d imagine that the last thing the studio wants is a John Carter style bomb on their hands.
More on The Dark Tower when we get it.