That whipping sound you hear is Warner Bros. pulling its purse strings tightly shut at top speed. Hot on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Warners and Legendary Pictures’ ambitious take on Paradise Lost will be delayed so the budget can be trimmed comes word that the studio has decided that David Dobkin’s drama Arthur & Lancelot might be too pricey for its taste.
According to Deadline, the film – which charts the early days of the man who will be king (Game Of Thrones’ Kit Harington) and his loyal friend and noble knight (The Killing’s Joel Kinnaman) – has seen its costs rose from an estimated $90 million to scraping close to $130 million. And that’s making the bean counters sweat. With two largely unknown leads, even if they do score a name brand supporting cast (Gary Oldman had been talked about as Merlin), the worry is that the movie just won’t be able to pluck the sword of riches from the box office stone.
So right now, the executives have told Dobkin he’s free to try to set the film up elsewhere unless a cost deal can be reached. If that take on the Arthurian legend does leave Warners, there’s always a chance that Guy Ritchie might get his shot.
It’s just the latest incident in a year of blockbuster halts. Paradise Lost, as mentioned above, was pushed back into development yesterday and set for a later shooting slot. The Lone Ranger faced a similar stint in limbo over budgetary concerns and Universal has taken the red pen to big projects with wild abandon, shutting down both Guillermo del Toro’s At The Mountains Of Madness (which had Tom Cruise ready to star) and Ron Howard’s multi-film/TV shot at Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Expect Oliver Stone to fund his next film via Kickstarter and Ben Affleck juggling on the streets of Beverly Hills to raise funds for his own work.