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Guillermo del Toro deserves better than this. It’s official, folks: At the Mountains of Madness is on ice. Forward movement on the Hellboy director’s long in development H.P. Lovecraft adaptation was thrown into question yesterday when the news broke that he was considering another project because of Universal Pictures’ hesitation to go ahead with a $150 million R-rated horror movie.
Del Toro wasn’t willing to sacrifice his vision for the sake of a more mass audience-friendly rating, and Universal didn’t think the cerebral horror flick would draw a large enough crowd to justify the budget. As awful as this news is, neither party is necessarily wrong. It’s just a bummer.
The news comes from del Toro himself, via an e-mail sent to The New Yorker as a follow-up to a recent profile of his life and work. The e-mail is brief, but it tells you everything you need to know: “Madness has gone dark. The ‘R’ did us in.”
Nuts to that.
This is something that del Toro has been trying to make happen for a long time now. It is one of the projects he left The Hobbit to pursue, and while those two movies will certainly be safe in replacement director Peter Jackson’s hands, we will now forever be left to wonder what might have happened if del Toro had simply stuck it out. To be clear, Madness is not completely dead, it’s just not happening at Universal. The potential still remains for it to be shopped around to other studios, though the $150 million budget/R-rating combo is going to be a tough sell for anyone.
I’ll let James Earl Jones take it from here…