Guillermo del Toro began his filmmaking career in 1993 with the Spanish-language Mexican horror drama film 'Cronos', starring Federico Luppi and Ron Perlman, which depicted the story of an antiques shopkeeper who undergoes vampiric transformation. His first feature film, it was selected as the Mexican entry for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' at the 66th Academy Awards, even though it failed to earn nomination.
In 1997, he received $30 million budget from Miramax Films for his next directorial venture, 'Mimic', an American science fiction horror film in which New York City is infested by gargantuan insects. While his relation with Miramax soured during the production of the film, and he did not succeed in obtaining a final cut, he later released a director's cut version in 2011.
Following his Hollywood disappointment, he went back to direct the Spanish-language gothic horror film, 'The Devil's Backbone' (2001), set in Spain during the final year of the Spanish Civil War. The film, for which he again collaborated with Federico Luppi, was received favorably by critics and audiences upon its release.
For his next project, 'Blade II' (2002), he kept the horror and supernatural themes, but wrapped it around the eponymous human-vampire hybrid comic-book superhero. Wesley Snipes reprised his role from the 1998 film 'Blade' for the sequel, which was a box office success and received mixed to positive reviews from critics.
In 2004, he teamed up with Ron Perlman for another supernatural comic-book adaptation – this time about the demon-turned-superhero Hellboy, loosely based on a Dark Horse Comics graphic novel. The eponymous film earned critical acclaim and also succeeded at the box office, prompting him to write and direct the 2008 sequel 'Hellboy II: The Golden Army'.
In between the two Hellboy movies, del Toro went back to the Spanish Civil War setting to write, produce and direct the Spanish-language dark fantasy drama 'Pan's Labyrinth' (2006). With its parable-like story and themes reminiscent of 'The Devil's Backbone', the film opened to widespread critical acclaim and received numerous international awards, including three 'Oscars' and three 'BAFTAs'.
In April 2008, Peter Jackson hired him to direct the live-action film trilogy based on 'The Hobbit' by J. R. R. Tolkien, but due to the financial issues faced by MGM, the project was delayed. While he left the project in May 2010, he was still credited as the co-writer for the three installments of the series.
Guillermo del Toro became an author in 2009 with the release of his vampire horror novel 'The Strain', co-written with Chuck Hogan, which spawned two sequels, 'The Fall' (2010) and 'The Night Eternal' (2011). In 2014, he directed the pilot of a TV series for FX, based on the trilogy, which ran successfully for four seasons.
In 2013, he directed the sci-fi action film 'Pacific Rim', a movie about giant monsters and gigantic mecha suits called 'Jaegers', the screenplay of which he co-wrote with Travis Beacham. The film, which starred Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi in principal roles, pleased fans and critics equally and became his most commercially successful film.
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His next film was the gothic horror movie 'Crimson Peak', starring Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Charlie Hunnam, which he co-wrote with Matthew Robbins and Lucinda Cox. The movie released in October 2015, during the Halloween season, and was received with generally positive reviews.
In August 2016, he filmed the Cold War drama 'The Shape of Water' over three weeks in Toronto with Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, and Michael Shannon as the main cast. The film, once again containing his recurring dark fantasy themes, was released in August 2017, and became a critical and commercial success, earning him four 'Oscars' including 'Best Picture' and 'Best Director'.
His production company and Disney had jointly announced at the D23 Expo in 2009 the original animated project, 'Trollhunters', which he eventually moved to DreamWorks in late 2010. The first season of the show, released worldwide on Netflix on December 23, 2016, became the most-watched kids original ever on the network and is considered to be one of the best children's animated series.