Del Toro may not direct At the Mountains of Madness after all

We've been looking forward for what seems like forever to Guillermo del Toro's big-budget, R-rated, epic adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, with James Cameron producing. Well, now it looks like the project may not get off the ground anytime soon—and del Toro himself may have to move on.

Although a seemingly erroneous report went online earlier today that the movie was going to start shooting in June with Tom Cruise confirmed for the lead role, the story rapidly took a downward turn from there. According to Deadline, Universal Studios, which has been developing the movie with the director, is hesitant to commit $150 million to an R-rated horror film—even with Cruise interested in starring and fans everywhere salivating over the prospect of Del Toro finally making his dream project after 12 years of development.

It seems that the movie would have to make the kind of coin that The Lord of the Rings or Inception hauled in—we're talking hundreds of millions—in order for the studio to make back its money, which execs see as a difficult prospect with that R rating keeping teenagers out of the theater. Del Toro has said all along that the movie has to have an R rating to be done right.

Meanwhile, with the years going by since his last movie hit screens (Hellboy 2), Del Toro is now thinking of bailing on his baby and directing a film called Pacific Rim. The movie is being produced by Legendary Pictures—the people behind The Dark Knight, among others—and is said to be a large-scale alien invasion film written by screenwriter Travis Beacham, with whom Del Toro almost worked on previous projects (see our earlier report on this film here).

The betting money right now says that Del Toro will direct Pacific Rim while he and Cameron try to save At the Mountains of Madness by having another studio pick it up for after Pacific Rim is finished. One possibility? Fox, since Cameron has made a few dollars for that company in the past couple of years. Universal, however, reportedly wants to hold on to it and see if they can make it work.

We've been wanting to see Del Toro's take on At the Mountains of Madness for so long that this newest development is a bummer, but at the same time, the man needs to get behind a camera again soon. Pacific Rim sounds cool enough, and hopefully he can still make At the Mountains of Madness the way he wants to. Ah, Hollywood ...

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