Update: Well, that didn't take long. Gris Grimly has once again taken to Twitter with signs of hope saying: "Pinocchio still has a heart that beats! I spoke too soon and it turns out that Pinocchio is still pulling interest from studios." So there you go…
It’s been over four years since a Guillermo Del Toro-directed film has been in theatres and with the kaiju-versus-robots film “Pacific Rim” in the home stretch, it looked like the monster maven would finally start working on the vast catalogue of projects he’s been attached to. Last year the Mexican filmmaker decided to co-helm the stop-motion version of “Pinocchio” that he had been producing, but now it looks the project may not become a reality after all, if cryptic tweets are anything to go by.
The film’s co-director, illustrator Gris Grimly (whose book is also the source material for the projected) tweeted (via Bleeding Cool) the bad news last Wednesday: “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.”
Why was this not the right time? Echoing the rationale behind the Del Toro’s last failed adaptation, the powers that be don’t see much of an audience for a darker stop-motion take on the classic children’s tale. Responding to a fan, Grimly said: “There are people like out there. But they look at numbers. Frankenweenie was a box office failure to them.” And indeed, with Tim Burton's movie landing in fifth place opening weekend and earning a $35 million domestic haul, it's hard to ignore the fact that darker or more challenging animated fare is a tough sell.
It’s a shame Del Toro’s idiosyncratic take was stopped, as he was planning to start recording dialogue this summer with Tom Waits, Daniel Radcliffe and Christopher Walken all rumored for parts. Though if “At The Mountains Of Madness” still has a chance, who’s to say that the time for a stop-motion take on “Pinocchio” will never come? In the meantime, fans of the director will have to console themselves with “Pacific Rim” when it hits theatres on July 11th.