Yesterday, we Sherlock Holmes-ed a bunch of tweets from Guillermo del Toro, Ron Perlman and Mike Mignola saying that Hellboy 3 was dead and that it was Mignola that killed it. Well, Mr. Mignola came back after I posted that article with another tweet, surely meant to Hellboy comfort fans but only made some of them angrier and sadder.
No GDT Hellboy 3 does not mean there is no future to the Hellboy franchise…#hellboy
— Mike Mignola (@artofmmignola) February 21, 2017
It’s hard to read anything into 140 characters or less, but that makes it seem like Mignola is moving on from his partnership with del Toro and, apparently, that means Perlman as well.
— Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) February 22, 2017
If click over to Mignola’s tweet, you’ll see the responses from fans generally fall into about 5 categories:
- It won’t be the same without del Toro and Perlman!
- Reboots never work!
- Make it an animated movie!
- Make it a Netflix TV show!
- Make it BPRD! (The Hellboy-free adventures of his allies at the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense)
This has to be disheartening for Mignola. I’m sure he though he was doing the fans a favor by cutting ties with the terribly busy yet slow moving del Toro so Hellboy can get back on the big screen again in a live-action film. But the wants and needs of his fan base isn’t the only thing he got wrong.
Hellboy is not Superman. He’s not Spider-Man and Batman either. Those characters can withstand numerous reboots because they are part of Americana. Hellboy was a relatively obscure character before del Toro got a hold on him. A great character with a lot of great stories under his belt, but was nowhere near as well known as those other guys. People did not come out to see the films because they spent decades and decades reading Hellboy comics. As a matter of fact, you can argue del Toro and Perlman brought in as many customers as the character did. So the character is not that big a draw on its own.
Backing up that fact would be the grosses of the original films. Hellboy only made $33 million over its $66 millon budget. Hellboy IIL The Golden Army did better, but still fell $10 million short of doubling its $85 million budget. These are not international blockbusters that are guaranteed to make bank. Let’s face it, even if del Toro, Perlman and Mignola decided to go ahead with Hellboy 3, they might have a hard time finding a studio to take a risk on it. But without del Toro and Perlman? With a ground-up reboot? Good luck with that.
But while the Del Toro and Perlman Hellboy films did not set the box office on fire, they were at least done by fans of the concept who were willing to do whatever it takes to do right by the character. That’s special in Hollywood. Mignola might not find another filmmaker of del Toro’s talent who will treat the characters with the same respect. Or one who will stick up to a studio who only wants a kid-friendly, toyetic film.
So, while the hope of more Hellboy exists, it’s not much hope that it will be as good if not better than the one we got.
Finally, let’s let del Toro have the final word on it.
Hellboy may move into a different direction. I tried & wanted this- but, not up to me. I, for one, wish everyone involved the best of luck! https://t.co/mnHQcABI4l
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) February 22, 2017