Despite sharing the name sake of Guillermo Del Toro’s critically acclaimed Hellboy released in 2004, Neil Marshall’s crack at the hit franchise has left general audiences and diehard fans alike, underwhelmed. With a domestic opening box office of only $12,000,000, not even reaching Lionsgate’s bottom estimate returns of $17,000,000 – Hellboy’s release into cinema thus far has not reached studio or fan expectations.
Having Hellboy (2004) and Hellboy: The golden army (2008), starving Ron Perlman to contend with – nostalgia and lack of direction have resulted in this modern age box office bomb. Frequent script rewrites and producer interference caused David Harbour, taking on the mantle of Hellboy, to walk off set aggravated and fed up with the production. The films over reliance on obvious and unnecessary CGI – constrained by an incredibly small $50,000,000 production budget – and loosely strung narrative combine to make this a tiresome watch. Despite receiving a C rating from test audiences, a rating generally reserved for Blumhouse horror movies, sticking closer to the source material, over the top gore and use of mature language may be Hellboy’s only improvement over its predecessors.
Decapitations, dismemberment, skull crushing violence and a few ‘F bombs’ will unfortunately not save this film from the bottom of the sales bin when released on DVD later this year. Where Guillermo Del Toro’s originals thrive with in-depth characters, humour, the use of excellent prosthetics and visuals that have stood the test of time, this obvious cash-grab reboot will struggle to make back its budget and to fill seats in the coming weeks. The upcoming release of Marvel studios Avengers: Endgame on the 25th of April will ultimately be the final nail in the coffin for Hellboy¸ now having very little opportunity to win over the hearts of fans and audiences.