[UPDATE: Fox has officially confirmed that Prometheus is Rated R.]
The Avengers has obliterated U.S. box office records, setting the stage for a lucrative summer, chock-full of heavily-anticipated titles. As it were, the next big "event" movie of the summer is Ridley Scott's Prometheus, which sees the filmmaker finally back on Alien turf (literally).
Anyone who was worrying that Scott's symphony of sci-fi/horror could end up "watered down" to a PG-13 Rating can relax now: the film has (seemingly) been confirmed as Rated R. Meanwhile, Guillermo del Toro has spoken out about the similarities between Prometheus and At the Mountains of Madness - and why it's bad news for his long-planned adaptation of that H.P. Lovecraft story.
Thanks to a pre-sale ticket stub purchased by IMDb user "dvonnesoneek" (tip of the hat to Collider) we now have pretty definitive "proof" that Prometheus has indeed landed an R Rating. It's not so shocking when you consider that the film was branded with an "18" rating in Spain, which is the equivalent of an R here in the States; moreover, Scott previously made it clear that he would push "to get the most aggressive film I can" - and, at this point in his career, the director has sufficient clout to ensure that happens.
[UPDATE: Since this story first broke, 20th Century Fox has officially confirmed that Prometheus is indeed Rated R, for "sci-fi violence including some intense images, and brief language."]
As has been discussed recently, with respect to upcoming titles like The Expendables 2 and The Wolverine, an R Rating is no guarantee of quality when it comes to adult fare. Still, when you think of the horrific imagery and atmosphere of dread that has pervaded through early Prometheus footage, it's difficult to suspect that a lower rating would not have ultimately weakened Scott and screenwriter Damon Lindelof's attempts to scare the bejeezus out of moviegoers.
R-Rated Summer blockbusters are a rare species - especially when it comes to expensive sci-fi entertainment. Studios generally go out of their way to land a more financially-friendly PG-13 Rating. As has been proven before, however, that kind of pandering move can still end up having a negative effect on the box office returns (Terminator Salvation, looking at you).
When you look at the the box office track record for R-Rated installments in tentpole sci-fi franchises that hit theaters during the summer, it's actually quite solid (see: The Matrix Reloaded, or the second and third Terminator movies). Hopefully, Prometheus will join the ranks of Terminator 2: Judgement Day as a film that both rakes in lots of cash - and proves to be a quality piece of sci-fi entertainment.
However, it's not all (potential) good news on the Prometheus front - as the success of Scott's film could be the final nail in the coffin of del Toro's collapsed $150 million adaptation of Lovecraft's famous At the Mountains of Madness novella. According to the filmmaker (via his official fan site):
I have been interviewed about this lately and wanted to post my two cents about this:
Prometheus started filming a while ago- right at the time we were in pre-production 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. I believe I am right and if so, as a fan, I am delighted to see a new RS science fiction film, but this will probably mark a long pause -if not the demise- of ATMOM.
Without venturing too far into spoiler territory, it's fair to say there are numerous similarities between the basic setup for Prometheus and Mountains of Madness (scientists uncover mysterious ancient civilization, all hell breaks loose). Sadly, if there's any one lesson studio heads have probably taken away from this year's John Carter fiasco, it's that the moviegoing masses are less inclined to see "the original," after already having seen the imitator(s).
That would indeed not help del Toro's case, as far as convincing studios to make At the Mountains of Madness goes. Especially if Prometheus proves to be the mind-blowing viewing experience we're all hoping for.
Prometheus arrives in theaters (2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D) around the U.S. on June 8th, 2012.
We will keep you posted on any additional news or updates on At the Mountains of Madness.
Source: Guillermo del Toro