Looks like Guillermo del Toro and James Cameron will not be seeing that green light for At the Mountains of Madness lit by Universal any time soon. Mike Fleming of Deadline has received word that del Toro and Legendary Pictures is moving towards a new monster project called Pacific Rim. The monster flick script was written by Travis Beachman and is aiming towards a PG-13 rating. The site adds that the project has been under the radar and that del Toro has been in the loop through this process.
What could this possibly mean for the H.P. Lovecraft adaptation you ask? Well it looks like audiences will not be scaling that mountain anytime soon. According to Deadline, Universal has been balking over the $150 million budget and R rating on At the Mountain of Madness.
del Toro has already offered stunning visuals to the studio to reassure them that he knew what he was doing. In fact Tom Cruise has just been confirmed to star in the film as the lead. This is the master of stunning visuals we are talking about so what could be the problem with a $150 million budget?
Well the studio is not only weary of the price but the rating as well. The film is intended to be rated R and for a film aimed towards a mature audience plus a $250 million price tag is asking a lot from the studio. The film is more horror than action adventure and I’m told it would have to generate $500 million in worldwide grosses for the studio to earn its money back. That means it would have to be a Lord of the Rings or Inception kind of achievement, which is a lot of performance pressure to place on an R-rated horror film. The site does say Universal hope to return to the project one day, but the studio expects for del Toro to move on to Pacific Rim.
Sad to say that a R-rating is what is holding this studio back. All the necessary pieces of the puzzle are there. del Toro directing, James Cameron producing, Cameron’s 3D technology, and Tom Cruise starring in the lead role. Maybe for At the Mountains of Madness to work del Toro would need Pacific Rim to be a mega hit at the worldwide box office. But hasn’t del Toro already proven himself with this monster flicks being huge hits at the box office? In this case, I guess not. So let’s hope another studio sees what Universal didn’t see and picks up the project.