The forums are awash with people saying "How dare the bean-counters deny ART!"
The thing is, a movie costing $150million would have to make about $500million for them to make their money back. Del Toro says that he think that "the R should be worn like a badge of merit in promoting the movie", but if you look at the figures here, no R-rated movie has even come close to making $500million in the US. If you include worldwide figures then you get a total of...two in the last ten years.
Now, if he really thinks that his movie is the next The Passion of The Christ or The Matrix Reloaded, then great! But if I was a movie studio trying to work out where to put my money, I strongly suspect it wouldn't be in the hands of someone who's highest worldwide gross so far is about $160million...
Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comments there.