It’s a sad day people. After a bunch of rumors about the film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s seminal At the Mountains of Madness, including one about Tom Cruise in a leading role, Guillermo del Toro has officially declared the project dead. The reason why? Universal would not allow the movie to be rated “R”.
Apparently the studio was reluctant to greenlight a big budget film that wasn’t guaranteed to be PG-13. Mind you, this is a film with del Toro at the helm and James “highest grossing films EVER” Cameron as the producer. This is like a studio exec telling George Lucas that Empire Strikes Back had to be “G” rated or it was a no-go. It’s idiocy, pure and simple.
Del Toro was not looking to make a flash in the pan summer blockbuster. He was aiming at creating a new genre of big budget horror films; in essence he was trying to do for horror what Lucas did for sci-fi in the late 1970s. Instead, the studio executives couldn’t see past their spreadsheets, despite having two huge Hollywood names running the show.
The reason the studio wants a PG-13 rating is to, of course, aim for a wider audience. That honestly makes me wonder if they even bothered to read a synopsis of the story? Did they think they could make shoggoth action figures? Elder thing city playsets? Would there be McDonald’s Happy Meal toy tie-ins? At the Mountains of Madness toys, one free in every kids meal! How completely ludicrous.
There is a small glimmer of hope. Del Toro and Cameron could take the film to another studio. However, it appears the del Toro will likely just shutter the project and move on to something else. It’s a sad day for Lovecraft fans and horror fans in general.