Rumor of the day: That Dark Tower adaptation may go dark

Remember that massive three-movie, two-TV-season adaptation of Stephen King's epic The Dark Tower? Looks like it might have run into a problem.

The problem? Money. Sources have told Variety that Universal, the studio behind the project, is having second thoughts due to budgetary issues. Executives at the studio are now said to be rethinking the entire thing and are reportedly meeting in the next few days to decide whether to scrap the ambitious project entirely.

If they do decide to cancel it, director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer are free to shop it to another studio, with Universal possibly still on board as a partner. The company is said to be nervous at this point about absorbing all the costs itself.

This is the studio that also recently canceled plans for a $150 million adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness from director Guillermo del Toro and producer James Cameron, hinting that Universal is serious about cutting costs. And who can blame them? Until last weekend's record-breaking Fast Five opening, the studio has been releasing flop after flop, some of them very good but risky movies that just didn't find an audience.

Variety stressed that as of last night, The Dark Tower was still in development at Universal, Javier Bardem was inches away from being signed, sealed and delivered to play Roland, and scripting was still underway.

If the project goes forward as planned, Howard will direct at least the first of the three films, with the trilogy bridged in the middle by two seasons of TV episodes.

Will The Dark Tower still go forward, and can the first movie still meet its May 17, 2013, release date? Or has this project seemed too good to be true from the start?