Though he was slated to direct his long-awaited adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft horror tale this summer, it now appears that the project is off the table. Numerous reports surfaced yesterday that Legendary Pictures had successfully lured del Toro away from the Universal horror flick for “Pacific Rim,” a PG-13 blockbuster featuring massive monsters and “the creation of a new world.”
Whether or not “Pacific Rim” is del Toro’s next film isn’t entirely clear, but “Madness” is certainly finished for now. The filmmaker himself reached out to The New Yorker and revealed: “Madness has gone dark. The ‘R’ did us in.”
Del Toro’s “Mountains of Madness” was envisioned as a big-budget R-rated horror movie, something that isn’t exactly a box-office guarantee on paper. But the talent involved with the project tells another story: James Cameron, creator of the top two highest-grossing films of all time, was on board as producer, and Tom Cruise was attached to star in the movie. With those undeniable box-office draws on his side, del Toro’s hopes for an R-rated “Madness” didn’t seem too far-fetched.
Ultimately, it appears that Universal was unable to commit to del Toro’s vision, as Collider reports that the studio officially passed on the project last Friday. It’s a huge disappointment for horror fans and del Toro enthusiasts, as well as anybody who simply loves big, original movie ideas.
But the blame game is a hard one to play in this situation — Harry Knowles at Ain’t It Cool News has slammed Universal for shying away from such an ambitious and risky project, while Drew McWeeny at HitFix praises Universal’s risk-taking moves with “Scott Pilgrim,” “Paul” and others; he argues that the problem is “systemic” of the film industry at large, bigger than any one studio.
For us, we’re not concerned with who’s at fault, not right now. We’re just flat-out disappointed that we’re not going to see del Toro’s “Madness” anytime soon, even if we’re excited about the possibilities that “Pacific Rim” presents.
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