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Attention fans of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: Warner Bros. hasn’t signed up for the quest just yet, but they’re looking at the brochure.

When last we checked in with Ron Howard’s ambitious plan to make three movies and two seasons of TV out of the epic horror/fantasy books, it had been rejected by Universal as too risky a gamble. But Howard and his team at Imagine Entertainment vowed to continue attempts to bring the story to screens — both large and small.

Warner Bros., which turned the Harry Potter series into a string of eight blockbusters and is no stranger to massive cinematic undertakings, confirms they have been considering the proposal, though representatives at the studio characterized it as “discussions” not negotiations.

“Negotiations” would suggest the studio is sold on the idea and is working out terms. That’s not the case — at least not yet.

The screenplay for the series was being developed by Akiva Goldsman (Oscar winner for A Beautiful Mind); Howard and producer Brian Grazer had expressed interest in Javier Bardem playing the lead role of Roland the Gunslinger, a cowboy-knight wandering an apocalyptic landscape in search of the mythical tower that binds all space and time. None of that is certain, of course, until a deal is in place to actually make the movie — or movies.

Whether the proposal is still to craft a movie trilogy with a TV series sandwiched in between is still unclear. (Imagine Entertainment did not respond to requests for comment) and Warner Bros. would not characterize the production company’s proposal.

Any interested studio may prefer to make a smaller initial gamble on one movie with the option of expanding if it proves to be a hit. Adapting all of King’s seven novels (with another on the way), would certainly require multiple films, but one thing that killed the Universal deal was the massive upfront commitment to future projects. Unlike Harry Potter, The Dark Tower is a violent, horrific tale — if told with fidelity to the source material, it’s not a movie that can count on fans of all ages and tastes. That makes it a trickier sell, and the sheer scale of it demands a very high budget. If it clicks with audiences, however, it could be another Lord of the Rings-style mega-hit — with twice as many books to turn into films.

It may ultimately never happen, but for now Howard and Imagine are still hoping there’s a chance.

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The Dark Tower
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Nikolaj Arcel