Earlier in the day, I typed a news post while standing up because I’d jumped out of my chair for joy. At the Mountains of Madness was finally set to go into production this summer.

The record is now being corrected, and it turns out that it was false joy and pipe dreams put forth by producer Don Murphy trying to pressure an answer from Universal.

That answer is no. It’s unclear why, and I’m checking with Universal for their side of the story, but the assumption seems to be that the R-rating and cost were a bit too much for them to handle. Instead, Guillermo Del Toro might move on to deliver a PG-13 big-budget piece of work called Pacific Rim that was written by Clash of the Titans writer Travis Beacham and deals with the world defending itself from alien monsters in the future. Del Toro and monsters is a good fit, and it’s set up at Legendary, but its high concept sounds eerily familiar. Like, say, Battleship. Or Battle: Los Angeles. That’s a shallow assessment, but that doesn’t mean it’s incorrect.

So instead of a classic monster movie starting in June, Del Toro might be starting on this new monster movie in September. That is, unless Murphy and Del Toro can get Mountains set  up at another studio with the quickness. It takes a village, and it’s nearly impossible to get movies made at all, but this one is a real frustration. You’d rather see it fall apart because of legitimate reasons instead of a studio passing on a Tom Cruise-starring, James Cameron-produced, epic monster movie in 3D from a seriously talented filmmaker who pulled in $165 million worldwide (for Universal no less) with a character actor in (fantastic) red make-up. Deadline Winston-Salem is claiming that the Universal estimation is that the flick would have to make $500 million worldwide to earn its $150 million budget back. Suddenly, what Kevin Smith has been complaining about recently is in much sharper focus.

The bright side, which we keep having to look at more and more, is that Del Toro will be releasing another monster movie soon no matter what. And it’ll be a huge one. Either it’ll be with a studio that can handle the risk of Lovecraft or it’ll be with Legendary Pictures in glorious PG-13. The other bright side? He has a lot of years of work ahead of him, and the Mountains of Madness still lay off somewhere in the distance.

What do you think?


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