It appears that Imagine Entertainment’s plan to adapt Stephen King’s mangum opus The Dark Tower into a three film series with two connecting television series may just be a bit too ambitious for Universal Studios to invest in. The studio has passed on the project despite the participation of such Oscar winners as Ron Howard set to direct, Javier Bardem as the series’ lead character gunslinger Roland Deschain and writer Akiva Goldsman handling script details.
The project could have potentially been the largest of any kind of production, surpassing Peter Jackson’s decision to shoot all three Lord Of The Rings films simultaneously.
The news is a reversal of the indications that Universal was thinking of moving ahead with the project. Recently, the studio had given indications that they wanted production to start early next year.
According to Deadline, who broke the story, Universal was only willing to commit to making the first film while producers Brian Glazer, Howard and King were pushing for a greenlight for the first film and connective television series.
Universal’s passing isn’t much of a surprise. The studio has been fairly financially conservative when it comes to what projects it puts in front of the cameras recently. It recently shot down Guillermo del Toro’s H. P. Lovecraft adaption At The Mountains Of Madness over concerns of investing $1509 million into a film which would have a limited audience due to its probable R rating.
This doesn’t mean that The Dark Tower is a dead project, however. Imagine is now free to shop the project to another studio to find if someone is willing to take a gamble that Universal wasn’t.