Ron Howard will not direct the third installment of The DaVinci Code series, The Lost Symbol. The Oscar-winning Howard, who directed both The DaVinci Code (2006) and its sequel, Angels & Demons (2009), has decided that he would prefer the role of producer over sitting in the director's chair. "Ron told Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton that he was not going to be directing Dan Brown's novels anymore," an insider told Deadline.com. "He just didn't want to do that thing over and over, the same character and the same stories."

News of Howard's departure from the film comes just days after it was confirmed that Universal Pictures had nixed Howard's big-budget project, The Dark Tower, a Stephen King western that he planned on adapting into three movies and a television series. Universal's no-go marked the second time that The Dark Tower had crumbled; J.J. Abrams, the creator of Lost, had tried to get it off the ground but failed.

Tom Hanks will reprise his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon in the blockbuster series. Angels & Demons grossed $486 million worldwide, and with Dan Brown's novel, The Lost Symbol, telling over a million copies its first day, the film is sure to take in big numbers when it opens. In addition to the two DaVinci Code films, Hanks and Howard have collaborated as actor and director on many projects including the mermaid comedy Splash (1984) and Apollo 13 (1995), but The Lost Symbol will split them up.

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