How Prometheus killed At the Mountains of Madness

Science fiction and horror fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Prometheus, which is slated to hit theaters on June 8. 

But for filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, the advent of Prometheus will likely be a bittersweet event. 

Yes, the veteran Hollywood filmmaker apparently believes Ridley Scott’s genre comeback film was partially responsible for Universal shelving the adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness – which Del Toro has been trying to shoot for at least a decade.

“Prometheus started filming a while ago – right at the time we were in preproduction on ‘Pacific Rim.’ The title itself gave me pause – knowing that ‘Alien’ was heavily influenced by Lovecraft and his novella. This time, decades later with the budget and place Ridley Scott occupied, I assumed the Greek metaphor alluded at the creation aspects of the HPL book,” Del Toro wrote in an official forum post. 

“I believe I am right and if so, as a fan, I am delighted to see a new [Scott] science fiction film, but this will probably mark a long pause – if not the demise – of [At the Mountains of Madness]. The sad part is – I have been pursuing [Madness] for over a decade now – and, well, after ‘Hellboy II’ two projects I dearly loved were not brought to fruition for me. The good part is: One project did… And I am loving it and grateful for the blessings I have received.”

Although Del Toro remained somewhat vague, he did claim Prometheus had the “same premise,” along with “scenes that would almost be identical.”

The filmmaker even went so far as to say both movies “seem to share identical set pieces and the exact same big revelation (twist) at the end. I won’t spoil it.”

Of course, there is no way to know if Del Toro’s assessment is accurate. Personally, I believe Universal’s decision to shelve Madness can be attributed (primarily) to budgetary concerns, a bean counter’s emphasis on the bottom line and a penchant for boilerplate action films like 

Think about it: Hollywood has absolutely no problem launching competing movies based on the same story, like Snow White and the Huntsmen vs. Mirror Mirror. So why would Universal worry about vague or even (alleged) open similarities between Prometheus and Mountains of Madness? Surely there would have been enough room for the both of them.