If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Rumors are circulating that the film and television adaptation of Stephen King's 'The Dark Tower' series may be in a bit of trouble. Universal Studios - the franchise's distributor, in partnership with Image Entertainment, is having second thoughts about the financial feasibility of the project, and may end up shopping the production to other studios.
Set to be directed by Ron Howard, the genre-spanning series has been envisioned as three full-length feature films, to be bridged by a pair of television series in an unheard of sequence of events. Looking at the prospects of a full trilogy of very high budget special effect films, along with an entire two-season's-worth of television production and budgets (retaining the actors and their sizable salaries as well throughout), it's no surprise that Universal is getting a little gun-shy, especially given the source material (King wrote the books as standalone titles, but they reference and feature characters from nearly every other book he's ever written). Insiders expect the studio to make a decision in the coming weeks as to whether or not they'll halt production, allow Image Entertainment to shoulder the full brunt of the costs, or whether to shop the series around to another studio entirely.
Ron Howard and co-producer Brian Glazer are still auditioning talent for the series, with 'No Country For Old Men' star Javier Bardem currently finalizing the deal that would cast him as the series' lead protagonist and anti-hero Roland Deschain - a mythical and hardened "gunslinger". This isn't the first film that Universal has changed their mind on - just earlier this year they scrapped Guillermo Del Toro's 'At the Mountains of Madness' on the verge of filming over similar budgetary concerns.
This is the second time 'The Dark Tower' has been optioned for film (the first was when JJ Abrams and 'Lost' producer Damon Lindelof bought the rights from King, but were unable to find a way to work the epic scope of the seven-book series into an acceptable adaptation), and while I'm sure fans will be disheartened to have it delayed, it's understandable for a film studio to reconsider whether or not they really want to sink possibly billions of dollars into producing anywhere from 30 - 50 hours of film for a single franchise.