When we last checked in on director Guillermo Del Toro, he was hared at work on getting his dream project of an adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s classic novella At The Mountains Of Madness. James Cameron had helped out in getting the project set up at Universal, Tom Cruise had expressed interest in starring and creature design was well underway. In fact, things have been progressing so nicely that producer Don Murphy told IO9 yesterday that things were looking good that for the movie to begin shooting this summer.
But it turns out that Universal has been having some problems with the possibility of a $150 million budget and an R-rating. Given that At The Mountains Of Madness would have to gross about $500 million at the box office in order to break even, studio brass have been dragging their feet on giving production the go ahead. Instead, it is now being reported that they would rather have Del Toro take the reigns of their Pacific Rim project.
What is Pacific Rim, you ask? Well, not much is known about the project except that it is a monster movie of some kind. Universal is hoping that the potentially PG-13 rated project will have much more box office appeal. Each side has been pressuring the other for an answer as to which project will go forward.
If Del Toro does proceed with Pacific Rim, he could still go back to Mountains afterward. And if Universal ultimately declines Mountains, Del Toro could always take it elsewhere, though there is no guarantee that any other studio would pick it up. Hopefully, someone in all of this is perhaps suggesting that Universal will greenlight Mountains on the condition that Del Toro handles Pacific Rim for them first. While I think that the director would be disappointed in a further delay in getting the film made, but at least he would have concrete assurances, such as they are in Hollywood, that he will finally get the film into production.
Of course the irony here is that last year Del Toro dropped out of directing The Hobbit when it looked like MGM’s financial problems were going to prevent the film from getting in to production for some time. In the meantime, those problems resolved themselves and The Hobbit is set to start shooting shortly. Meanwhile, Del Toro still has no idea what his next film will be.