Legendary Pictures Attempts to Lure Guillermo del Toro away from AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS to PACIFIC RIM – UPDATED

     March 7, 2011


Writer-director-producer Guillermo del Toro deserves better.  He’s one of the most imaginative and creative filmmakers working today and he hasn’t gotten behind a camera since 2008’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army.  He left The Hobbit last May because there was no start date in sight and now, as some kind of cruel cosmic joke, The Hobbit is starting production (now with Peter Jackson at the helm) and del Toro may be stuck in a false start on his new project, At the Mountains of Madness.  As Universal stalls on del Toro’s dream project, Deadline reports that Legendary Pictures his trying to get del Toro to direct the PG-13 monster movie Pacific Rim.

You may recall Pacific Rim as the movie that was rumored to be the Godzilla reboot, but turned out not be  a non-Godzilla affiliated monster movie.  Del Toro was offered the project back in October, but responded that he was not involved with Godzilla, a fact which didn’t preclude his participation in Pacific Rim since it’s not the Godzilla reboot (that film is being handled by Monsters director Gareth Edwards).  Hit the jump for more on this tale of two del Toro projects.

Update: Steve here. I’ve been told that Universal killed At the Mountains of Madness on Friday and del Toro is going to take on Pacific Rim as his next film.  I’m sure this will all be worked out over the next few days.  I’m just sad that one of my favorite filmmakers is having so many problems getting a film made.

Guillermo del Toro image Hellboy 2 (1)Here’s what we reported last October concerning the Travis Beachem’s Pacific Rim script:

The story is “set in a future in which malevolent creatures threaten the earth, the planet must band together and use highly advanced technology to eradicate the growing menace.”

Legendary previously tried to get del Toro on board a Wizard of Oz project and I’m so happy he passed on that because there’s enough of those as it is and while seeing his grotesque re-designs of munchkins and flying monkeys would be intriguing, I’d rather see del Toro get his passion project: At the Mountains of Madness.

Like he did with The Hobbit, del Toro has reportedly done a large amount of pre-production design on Mountains even though the project hasn’t been given a green light.  Universal, the studio who owns the rights, is balking at the project’s $150 million price tag for what’s going to be an R-rated horror flick even though James Cameron is producing, the movie will be in 3D, and Tom Cruise is “ready to star”.

The problem is that the movie would have to gross $500 million worldwide for the studio to earn its money back.  That’s a huge gamble and Universal is reportedly hanging on to Mountains as something del Toro could come back to after Pacific Rim.  Clearly, Universal is hoping that Pacific Rim is a smash hit and maybe being able to write “From the Director of Pacific Rim” on the poster could potentially conjure up enough worldwide interest for the studio to be comfortable enough to give the green light.

If del Toro moves to Pacific Rim, I’ll be bummed because it pushes back every other project he has.  I don’t know how much pre-production time del Toro would need before he started shooting on Pacific Rim and presumably there would be a lot of post-production work required.  I’ll also be bummed because I want to see him get his passion project off the ground and while I think Universal’s concerns are legitimate, I’d rather see them take a chance on del Toro then spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a Battleship movie.  Then again, it’s not my hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.


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