The journey of the acclaimed Fox action-drama 24 making it to movie theaters is becoming as winding as the series' plot lines. This movie spin-off was in development years before the show wrapped in 2010, but Twentieth Century Fox has repeatedly failed to get 24 into production, pushing from December 2011 to April of 2012, once Kiefer Sutherland wraps on season one of his new mystery series Touch. Last week we told you that a 2012 start was looking impossible thanks to the Touch schedule, and now The Wrap reveals Fox has gone back to tinkering with the film's budget, making it even more unlikely the 24 movie will be ready for its most recently revealed start date. Assuming Touch earns a second season, Sutherland would not be available in the fall, which would push the film's production to the spring of 2013.

In the interim, the script, which was originally penned by Billy Ray (Shattered Glass), will get further revisions from an unnamed new writer, who will presumably be tasked with pairing down the script's more costly elements. Among the high price items the film's producers are hoping to haggle on is Sutherland himself. The crucial star was initially offered $1 million dollars to lead the 24 movie, but demanded $5 million. In response, Fox allowed for $2 million, capping the feature's budget at $30 million overall, which is $10 million less than producer Brian Grazer felt the action-packed project demanded.

At the end of the day, the 24's fate will be determined by a battle of wills between its studio and star. Willy Fox fold to the costly demands of its leading man? Will Sutherland hold out until Fox ponies up his price? Or will their continued contention lead to the project sputtering out of existence? With so many delays and deep-seated disputes, I'd wager on the last.

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