You know I don't really think this is a big surprise, and while others are saying that it's not a surprise because of the different directions of studio and director, I think that's not the big issue here, I think that they would have found a way to resolve things and move forward, after all it's Darren Aronofsky, you'd say yes otherwise you'd have been insane to hire him.
No, I think something else is afoot here, and it's not exactly surreptitious. I think it's much more apparent and was a reason behind the rumour the other day that Bond 23 had been halted - that's prior to hearing that Sam Mendes was in the running.
MGM are in difficult times, and right now they need films that are going to return in order to keep them from losing their position, their film rights, and to just stay running. You'll remember that the previous story about their financial troubles showed they had been given a lifeline and that was going to be ploughed into some major films.
Some of those major films were the Bond franchise, number 23 in particular, and The Hobbit films, both of which MGM were hoping would give them the returns to hold onto them I would imagine as well as pay off a lot of their debts, however the previous story did hint that that ultimately the company could be sold off as a complete entity, stripped before being sold off piece by piece (including each of the rights that they own), or we would see just some of the rights they owned sold and the company continue running.
There wasn't anything definite, but it did sound like further sales and equity releases were coming, we just weren't sure to what extent.
So with Bond 23 moving ahead and The Hobbit films looking good, that left a lot on the MGM slate that could be halted to save money, and one of those projects could well be Darren Aronofsky's RoboCop, especially if there was a way to go on the agreement and development of the story, as well as a risk being taken with restarting the franchise in a bold new way.
However according to the reports from RoboCop Archive through Moviehole, the reasons were that the director and the studio weren't seeing eye to eye on the direction of the film, something I don't wholeheartedly believe, and if that turns out to be the official release, it might just be more convenient than the truth.
Apparently RoboCop Archive has spoken with Pheonix Pictures and asked about the state of the film, and they were told that the project is on hold and that the problem is MGM wants a 3D RoboCop, whereas Darren Aronofsky wants something very real and gritty, very, very far from 3D.
Now that's interesting because it's not what was originally being touted for the film, and if we consider the investment potential from MGM they really couldn't pay for the top of the range 3D, so that would have to be standard 3D, and then it just becomes gimmicky and silly.
If that were the case though wouldn't Aronofsky just leave the project and say so? Why not say anything and have the studio reveal later when asked a direct question that the project had been put on hold?
I don't know, there are too many variables to be able to say definitely which way it is, however I would tend to believe, until Aronofsky says to the world, that he's still attached but that the project has been on hold while MGM consider their financial worries.