When I spoke to director Guillermo del Toro recently, he noted the similar circumstances between Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and At The Mountains Of Madness, the film del Toro was set to direct with Tom Cruise until Universal pulled the plug because the director would not back off his insistence of being able to deliver an R-rated film. Universal execs deemed that too risky for a $150 million film, despite it being 3D and based on storied HP Lovecraft subject matter.
Prometheus is even more like At The Mountains Of Madness than del Toro thought. Fox has confirmed that it will release Scott’s science fiction film with an R rating, rather than water the film down to get a PG-13. It is a big risk for Fox, whose executives basically are in the position that Universal execs wanted to avoid when they said no to At The Mountains Of Madness. Part of me wonders if del Toro should have gone ahead and made his movie, and dug his heels in on a rating after it was finished, but I know that del Toro is too forthright for that. The MPAA rationale behind the Prometheus rating cited “sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language,” exactly the same things that might have hamstrung Mountains. I’m told that del Toro is still quite intent on making his dream project, and his position could well be bolstered if Prometheus scores big this summer. It would show that an R-rated big-ticket science fiction pic can be viable. And the effort to resurrect Mountains would come after del Toro had delivered his first tentpole-sized film in Pacific Rim.
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