CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical
Yesterday we told you how Guillermo Del Toro's ambitious adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's 'At the Mountains of Madness' was facing some troubles as the film wasn't greenlit and hadn't yet signed Tom Cruise to star. Meanwhile, Del Toro was being courted for another project called 'Pacific Rim,' which is some generic-sounding monster movie. Not that we're dumping on 'Pacific Rim' -- after all, no one is more trusted with creature work than Del Toro right now. But after hyping 'Mountains of Madness' for months and knowing how crazy-cool the story is -- plus the fact that James Cameron was teaming with Del Toro -- well, sue us if we're a little bummed to hear the project is now officially dead.

That's what Del Toro told Criterion Cast in an email not long ago, and that's a shame. Right away people began blaming Universal for not taking the risk on a $150-million-dollar R-rated horror movie, but that's just nonsense. Complain all you want about Universal -- if you had gone to see 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' in theaters, maybe they'd feel a little more confident in 'Mountains of Madness.'

Fact is, the film is a major gamble for several reasons that should be pretty obvious (genre, budget, cast), and unfortunately the studio known for taking lots of risks these past few years (most of which did not pay off) wants to simply quiet it down for awhile and invest the big bucks in films that have a better shot at doing well at the box office.

So, really, if you're looking to blame someone for the death of 'At the Mountains of Madness,' blame yourselves. There's a reason why big-budgeted horror movies are considered a risk, and it's because the audience for it is too limited. Universal would get more bang for their buck casting a bunch of no-name hottie teenagers in a $25 million slasher pic than they would an epic, Guillermo Del Toro-directed, James Cameron-produced adaptation of a freaky H.P. Lovecraft novel. That's just the way it is.

You want more risk-taking in Hollywood, start supporting the risk-taking by seeing these movies. Go see 'Paul' (despite the fact that those two British guys "sound weird"), and go see 'Your Highness' (even if the pot-smoking dragon-slayer genre isn't exactly your cup of tea). The more we support the bigger-budgeted films that think outside the box, the more studios will risk their money on them.

Fans may have lost this round, but the good news is Guillermo Del Toro isn't going anywhere anytime soon.


For more, read Drew McWeeny's excellent piece on the matter over at HitFix called 'Is it fair to blame Universal for the state of the industry today?'