Producer Brian Grazer Says $45-50 Million Budget Cut Means THE DARK TOWER Will “Get Made”

     October 23, 2011

This past summer, Universal passed on Ron Howard‘s ambitious adaptation of Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower.  Howard, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, and producer Brian Grazer planned to turn the series of novels into a trilogy tied together with a TV series.  Javier Bardem was attached to star in the movies and the second season of the television series (the first season would have been flashbacks and a younger actor would play Bardem’s character, Roland Deschain).  The studio and the creative team wrangled with the budget all summer.  In June, Grazer and Howard were optimistic that they had lowered the budget to a point where the movie and TV series could go into production.  However, Universal continued to balk at the price-tag.

Grazer now says they’ve shaved off $45-50 million, gotten a better ending as a result, and is confident that the movie will get made.  Hit the jump for more.

During the press rounds for Tower Heist, Grazer told The Playlist:

“We found a way to cut out $45 million out of the budget without changing the scope and actually giving it a good ending,” Grazer said, suggesting a heavily re-worked approach. “In the $140 million draft, the ending wasn’t quite as satisfying. Now, we’ve got $45 million, $50 million out of the way and a really satisfying ending. It’s gonna get made.”

I’ve never read The Dark Tower so I don’t know if it requires a larger budget or what a “satisfying ending” would be (or even how many books it would encompass since there have been seven novels so far and the eighth is expected to arrive next year).  Also, Grazer didn’t specify if this budget refers only to the first movie, the whole trilogy, the TV series or all of the above.  However, Bardem is still attached to star and Howard will still direct although he’s currently working on the racing drama Rush.  Keep in mind that Grazer was optimistic in June, but we’ll see if these new cuts will give The Dark Tower a greenlight.

Here’s a synopsis for The Dark Tower:

In the story, Roland Deschain is the last living member of a knightly order known as gunslingers and the last of the line of “Arthur Eld”, his world’s analogue of King Arthur. The world he lives in is quite different from our own, yet it bears striking similarities to it. Politically organized along the lines of a feudal society, it shares technological and social characteristics with the American Old West but is also magical. While the magical aspects are largely gone from Mid-World, some vestiges of them remain, along with the relics of a highly advanced, but long vanished, society.

Roland’s quest is to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes. Roland’s world is said to have “moved on”, and indeed it appears to be coming apart at the seams as mighty nations have been torn apart by war, entire cities and regions vanish without a trace and time does not flow in an orderly fashion. Even the Sun sometimes rises in the north and sets in the east. As the series opens, Roland’s motives, goals and age are unclear, though later installments shed light on these mysteries. [Wikipedia]

Around The Web
  • Liam_H

    How sad it is that Universal will waste $200 million on Battleship but balk at the price tag of Dark Tower.

    • Mike

      It is very late while I am typing this, and it is from my phone so I apologize for any Tom foolery that follows.

      I would like to agree but look at it from their point of view:
      BATTLESHIP – parralels Transformers in many respects (that is no doubt going to be an advertising point). Based on grossly successful and well-known game. In other words, they have nostalgia on their side as well. Oh yeah, they also hired one of the biggest pop stars. To you and me this is silly but to them it is just extra tickets sold. I suppose she is pretty good looking too.

      I would almost be willing to bet one of my limbs that battleship makes a billion. Now for the other option…

      THE DARK TOWER – this may or may not factor in, it is unclear to me, project is being shopped as this big event. Multiple pictures and television shows all stemming from this one thing. I would think that they would be smart to hinge it on the success of the first movie but that might not be what Howard and co. are shopping around. Now let’s talk about the source material, it is perhaps one/some of Kings most memorable works, not his most known mind you. He is rather hit and miss though and that people do remember whenever they see his name. They do also think “oh, something strange and probably frightening – let’s check it out” but … Well, the Mist anyone? Check out the earnings on the majority of the King related movies. Kind of lack-luster.

      Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed pretty much all of them, and the novels that they were based off of as well.. But the studios care about money not story quality [usually]. Any CEO or whatever that says that they just want to do right by their customer (inthis case us) is a douche bag (ie. All of them) because at the end of the day they do not care if we are satisfied, they justcare that they turn a profit.

  • News Hit

    I am impressed with the producer’s PR skills. He has managed to transform a story about the production’s financial difficulties into an artistic coup, suggesting that having less money will improve the film’s creative qualities. Bravo, Mr. Grazer.

  • Jay

    I dont know why they chose Javier Bardem, cant say i like the choice..

    • Weez4

      I can’t get myself to like Javier as Roland. Roland’s physical features were very distinct – Javier is no Roland.

  • dogg

    This will be a disaster. The books focused on the metaphysical and abstract, with the plot taking a back seat. It’s got all the same problems Dune had when they tried to adapt it.

  • Mike

    Is anyone concerned that they admit that the ending was not great but were trying to make this anyway. Sure an ending can be worked on. They obviously are not adaptig all of the series as it is not even complete itself, so they have plenty of time to work on that ending… But it makes me wonder what else they will cheap-out on. I was initially excited about the news that they were planning to adapt this.. But my interest has been wanning; especially now that even the people behind the adaption are not too interested in quality. The only saving grace is that they apparently have a good ending now.

  • Bobbi_1025

    An ending?? Not to be a spoiler but if they use the series as it ended with The Dark Tower I don’t see how they can have one unless they changed it to begin with and r now scaling back to original ending. Eitherway I have a bad feeling about this movie and Javier Bardem is not someone King fans will get behind. They should be reworking the casting dept

  • SeanH.

    Saying the plot takes a back seat in this series is not correct. The 7 Dark Tower novels, plus the other dozen or so King novels you can read that are interwoven with the Tower novels with distinct characters and stories, are possibly the MOST plot oriented novels to date. The scope of the plot itself is HUGE and is what is putting off the studios. The characters and story lines are what makes the Dark Tower series so popular and they are MASSIVE in size. They’d have to hire a HUGE team of people to maintain continuity on set and in the editing room.

    • dogg

      Uh, characters are not plot. Characters are King’s specialty and by far the strongest aspect of the books–a prime example of something taking greater priority than the plot. When King puts the plot on hold so he can devote a whole book to a character’s love story in flashback, that’s what I mean by “taking a back seat”. The plot just goes wherever the hell King felt like taking it at that point in his life. King even (rather lamely) wrote HIMSELF into the damn thing. You can say it’s got an epic plot, and I can’t disagree because all the crap that happens is technically “the plot”, but that’s not the same thing as being plot driven.

  • Mishell

    Hey check out an interesting interview with Ron Howard at:

  • will

    Now if they could just get rid of Grazer and Howard the film might have a chance. Other than “A Beautiful Mind” I’ve never been thrilled with any of their movies.

  • Pingback: The TV Series Parts of THE DARK TOWER Head to HBO()

  • Pingback: The TV Series Parts of THE DARK TOWER Head to HBO - CASTE SYSTEM – CASTE SYSTEM()