Universal has officially placed the ambitious multiplatform franchise The Dark Tower in turnaround, a very black and cold place in Hollywood terminology.
Variety first reported that the studio had second thoughts about the film and TV project from Akiva Goldsman and helmer Ron Howard on May 5, when the studio began mulling a turnaround.
Tower involved a television show that would have continued the narrative in between three movies, all based on Steven King’s seven-novel series (King has completed an eighth, “The Wind Through the Keyhole,” set for publication in 2012).
Howard unveiled plans for “The Dark Tower” adaptation last September. Universal soon came on as a distributor, thanks to Imagine’s production deal with the studio; NBC (or an affiliated cable net) was expected carry the TV component.
By April, scribe Mark Verheiden was brought on board to write the TV show along with Goldsman.
No financier has officially signed on to the project, but Warner Bros. could be a likely option since the studio is home to Goldsman’s Weed Road Pictures shingle.
Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Goldsman were set to produce while Javier Bardem was attached to star.
Howard is expected to still helm the project if the studio shops it elsewhere and it finds a new home.
Though U declined to comment on the reasons behind the pass, sources said the franchise simply came at too high a price. The unprecedented package would have taken the franchise model to a new level, and sources said U’s issues were financial, not creative.