[Universal] also was caught off-guard after they aggressively courted Guillermo Del Toro, the filmmaker behind "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Hellboy." The studio gave him a first-look deal, picked up a sequel to "Hellboy" with a budget of more than $80 million, and even bought the rights to his dream project, the H.P. Lovecraft epic, "At the Mountains of Madness."
But [Universal] brass was stunned to suddenly see Del Toro emerge as the likely director of the next two "Hobbit" movies for New Line and MGM. That would lock him down for four straight years in New Zealand.
Langley acknowledges, "We're in discussions with how to rectify that with Guillermo."
I don't think I'm crazy to think that Universal might be thinking about greenlighting ATMOM just to keep GDT on their side. If I'm right, this could be part of why THE HOBBIT deal has yet to become official. If there is one thing to keep GDT out of Middle Earth, it is his dream MOUNTAINS project. Hang in there, fans - you never know what might happen.