The Hollywood Reporter is reporting (from Hollywood) that Universal is about to put Ron Howard’s ambitious take on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower into turnaround, which means the studio would sell the rights to another studio (for a price that includes the cost of development so far). The vision for the project would be to turn King’s series into three films and two seasons of TV.
Apparently Universal remains afraid of big, expensive geek properties after having been stung by so many of them. Recently they dumped Guillermo Del Toro’s expensive R-rated At the Mountains of Madness. But more than the cost, it shockingly turns out that the ‘final portion’ (I’m assuming the last film in the trilogy, based on the final book) is ‘creatively lacking’ (ie it’s pretty bad, like finale of The Dark Tower).
No actual decision has been made on dumping the property, but the report says it should happen within the next few days. If Universal does put The Dark Tower into turnaround, Warner Bros is the most likely home - they were interested in the project a while ago.
The era of this sort of big risk is over, at least at Universal. Warner Bros is already up to their ears with epic Stephen King - they’re developing The Stand. If The Dark Tower gets dumped will it ever find a home? And if it doesn’t, will that be so bad?