Guillermo del Toro currently has five projects he's currently signed on to direct including "Pacific Rim" due out this July and the long-rumored "Hellboy 3," is credited as contributing to the screenplay for the next two installments of "The Hobbit," and is an executive producer of "Kung Fu Panda 3" and an animated fantasy horror called "Alma" where a little girl is enticed by a toy store containing a doll that looks exactly like her. Among del Toro's many gestating projects is a darker twist on "Pinocchio," which was set to be animated in stop-motion and presented in 3D. Now it seems as though yet another promising project of del Toro is indefinitely on hold.
Guillermo del Toro is similar to Terry Gilliam in the sense that fans know they're in for a creative vision whenever one of their projects is announced, but they often have uphill battles with the studios and their visions are tainted because of it or many of their projects never get past the pre-production process. Del Toro was originally attached to direct "The Hobbit," but eventually dropped out because of the MGM bankruptcy. He also wanted to tackle H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," but no studio wanted to fund a $100 million dollar horror film that the director insisted on being R-rated. It also doesn't help that "Prometheus" was so similar that del Toro insisted that his vision was now unnecessary.
The Mexican director was set to co-direct "Pinocchio" along with Mark Gustafson while also being a contributing writer to the story and producing. Based on the book Carlo Collodi with illustrations by Gris Grimly (Grimly was signed on to the film as a writer), "Pinocchio" promised to appeal to both horror and fantasy fans.
"Short to the point update on Pinocchio for those inquiring: It appears that this is not the right time for such a superior-adventurous flick."
After being asked why, Grimly continued:
"There are people like us out there. But they look at numbers. Frankenweenie was a box office failure to them."
According to Box Office Mojo, "Frankenweenie" had a production budget of $39 million and only brought in a little over $35 million domestically. Despite being profitable when you factor in its foreign box office (it made nearly $32 million overseas for a total of $67 million), many films are deemed a failure if they don't make more than their budget in their domestic gross. The Jim Henson Company was going to produce "Pinocchio" and Allison Abbate (a producer on "Frankenweenie") was to be an executive producer. Either the producers or the studio decided to throw "Pinocchio" on the shelf for the time being, which is nearly as bad as the project being canned altogether. Del Toro is always so passionate about every project he's a part of, so it's certainly a possibility that he'll attempt to take the film to other studios. No matter how you look at it though, "Pinocchio" won't see the light of day any time soon.
Sources: shocktillyoudrop.com, bloody-disgusting.com, munchkinpress.com, io9.com