You'd think Ron Howard's name alone would be enough to get a project made at Universal, the studio he's called home for nearly a quarter-century. Even when that project is an ambitious, multi-part adaptation of a Stephen King book series that would encompass three movies and a TV show, you'd think Howard's 30-year track record as a hitmaker and Oscar-winner would be enough to mitigate the risk.
And yet, Universal has pulled the plug on 'The Dark Tower' after the project spent more than a year in development. That the studio would snub its most dependable in-house director after so many years of partnership, especially after he'd already put so much time and effort into getting the project off the ground, suggests more than just cost-consciousness on Universal's part. It also suggests that Howard doesn't command the respect or hold the power he once did.
In the short term, Howard's dilemma may stem from 'The Dilemma,' his early 2011 flop that was his biggest box office disappointment in ages. But a look at Howard's recent movies suggests that, the two Dan Brown adaptations aside, Howard hasn't had a huge hit since 'A Beautiful Mind' a decade ago. Maybe it's Howard, not 'The Dark Tower,' that Universal thought wasn't worth gambling hundreds of millions of dollars on.