Guillermo del Toro's version of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness was a passion project for the director, and for awhile was moving full-steam ahead at Universal Studios. As if fan-favorite director del Toro at the helm wasn't enough, it would have starred Tom Cruise and been produced by James Cameron, the director of films like The Terminator, Aliens, Avatar and Titanic.
Yet somehow it wasn't because Universal pulled the plug on the project.
Ostensibly, the reason for doing so was the cost, as well as the rating. The horror movie was based upon a H.P. Lovecraft short story of the same name and budgeted at $150 million. Ratings-wise, del Toro was adamant that the film be R-rated, which I still think is a really good idea, despite that it contributed to the project falling apart (If you've never read Lovecraft, you can download a copy of At The Mountains Of Madness here and The Shunned House, here. Both are available in most popular ebook formats).
Though the problem with an R-rating is that it limits the reach of a movie, seeing that someone under 17 can't see it without an accompanying adult. This isn't a problem when your film isn't terribly expensive (Sony's upcoming [The Equalizer](movie:4448) is rated R, but at the same time has a budget of $50 million, two-thirds cheaper. This means that the likelihood that it earns a profit is high, though it also doesn't hurt that it's also directed by Antoine Fuqua, who's renown for action pictures) but quite likely, disastrous otherwise.
A few months ago, Legendary Pictures left their partnership with Warner Bros, and went with Universal, whom Del Toro is currently working with (They produced Pacific Rim with Warner Bros and will handle the sequel as well, though I have no idea if Warners will still be involved), which means that At The Mountains Of Madness may yet see the light of day.
The odds of which increase exponentially when you take into account that Del Toro has recently said that he's willing to compromise on his original demand for an R-rating.