The multi-year water treading between MGM and Darren Aronofsky on the proposed reboot of Robocop generated a lot conspiracy theory about what was holding things up, and what ultimately went wrong. Some figured it was a disagreement between the studio and the filmmaker on budget vs. rating. Another widely spread rumor was that Aronofsky was firmly set against shooting the film in 3D, which MGM found unacceptable. Which of these things are true?

None really. MGM was (and is) just broke.

This confirmation of what Devin pretty much reported over a year ago, comes from an MTV interview that asked Aronofsky about the split, and he flatly denied that it was about 3D or anything artistic at all. Scheduling was the ultimate deal-breaker, as Black Swan was ready to start and Natlaie Portman was free to make it. With MGM still miring in debt and financial restructuring, it “just became an easy decision.” He has a “we’ll see” outlook on any future movement on the project.

Aronofsky goes on to clarify his attitude towards 3D which, like most interesting filmmakers, is one of complete openness and excitement at the prospect of new storytelling tools. His reticence towards the format in earlier stages of Robocop was expressed before he had seen Avatar, and likely before MGM would have even thought about making 3D a priority.

“With the right project, I’m totally into 3-D… Scorsese’s working in 3-D. I am very curious what that’s going to be. Like everyone, I thought Avatar was an incredible experience. I’m also interested in what someone like John Waters would do in 3-D. That’s when it starts to become interesting, when you start to see it used in very interesting, different ways. There is a backlash at this point, and I think that’s just because it’s been overexposed, but that’s just because people are rushing to bank in on it. There’s no doubt that interesting things are going to be done in 3-D.”

Whether the project will involve robotic law enforcement or not, and regardless of how many dimensions it will be presented, I have no doubt Aronofsky will be playing in the big budget sandbox eventually. I can only hope it’s sooner rather than later, if that’s where he’d like to end up. Even if it’s never meant to be, I’ll take as many small movies as Aronofsky cares to make.

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