Here's more from the extremely candid Meyer, speaking at the at the Savannah Film Festival to students and members of the public at the Savannah College of Art & Design.
On why the studio passed on At the Mountains of Madness and Dark Tower:
“We looked at the economics of [At the Mountains of Madness and Dark Tower] and it just didn’t make sense for us, for what we would have to put out for what we could make back,” he explained. “It didn’t feel secure enough for us, and that’s the reason we didn’t do it.”
“They’re both good projects, they just were more expensive than made sense for us to spend. If I thought that we could get a better return and everybody was willing to cut their gross, I wasn’t afraid of the price — I was just afraid of the return. I didn’t want to invest, you know, $200 million to not make enough to show that that was worth investing that money.”
On the difficulty of turning down the Dark Tower project despite being good friends with Ron Howard.
No one wants to hear the word ‘No,’ so it’s never simple to just say it. My first responsibility is to do what’s right for the studio, so I can’t worry about what’s right for Ron. He has the right to take it elsewhere and I hope he gets it set up.”
Director Guillermo del Toro and screenwriter Matthew Robbins wrote a screenplay based on Lovecraft's story, but in 2006 had trouble getting Warner Bros. to finance the project. Del Toro wrote, "The studio is very nervous about the cost and it not having a love story or a happy ending, but it's impossible to do either in the Lovecraft universe." In July 2010 it was announced that the film would be made in 3D and that James Cameron would become producer, and Tom Cruise was attached to star. This "was a startling prospect considering Lovecraft's tale had long been considered unfilmable." Del Toro confirmed that the film would begin production as early as May 2011 and start filming in June. However, in March 2011, it was announced that "Universal refused to greenlight the project due to del Toro's insistence that it be released with an R rating rather than a PG-13." According to Salon.com, "Universal wants to hold onto the project in the event that it changes its mind and decides to make it later, either as an R or PG-13 movie. But del Toro is already trying to set up Mountains at another studio (possibly 20th Century Fox, which released Cameron's Titanic and Avatar).