Director Guillermo del Toro says the Hellboy movies could not be made today due to changes in the movie industry.
It goes without saying that the two original Hellboy movies, released in 2004 and 2008, have developed a cult following. Fans have long clamored for Guillermo del Toro to make another film in the franchise, but he moved on, resulting in the unsuccessful reboot in 2019.
No Hellboy movie possible today
Guillermo del Toro said that changes in the entertainment industry mean that it is virtually impossible for another Hellboy film to be made today.
The reason for this bleak reality is the continuing plunge in DVD/Blu-Ray sales. The original movie grossed US$99 million [AU$149 million] worldwide on a $66 million budget, which means it lost money.
However, when the movie hit the DVD/Blu-Ray market, something happened.
Guillermo del Toro explains, “The Blu-ray DVD performance of the first ‘Hellboy’ was massive. So big that Ben Feingold, at Columbia, went full-on on the sequel development. Ben was so impressed by those numbers that he made ‘Hellboy’ one of the very first Blu-rays from Columbia Pictures. Far as I can recall, the number for home video surpassed theatrical.”
Many movies made a ton of money through the sale of physical media. The sales figures for the Firefly TV series were so good the studio decided to make Serenity, the theatrical movie follow-up to the TV show.
However, the once-robust sales of DVDs and Blue-Rays have plummeted over the years. Sales dropped from $25.2 billion in 2014 to $13.1 billion in 2018, a drop of almost 50%.
The reason for such a drop is due to the rise in streaming services. Most people are quite happy to fork over $7 to $10 a month for a streaming service instead of buying the DVD or Blu-Ray of a movie.
The road to get the original Hellboy made was long and hard. Del Toro notes, “The first ‘Hellboy’ movie was developed before even X-Men  was on film. I remember visiting the ‘Mystery Men’ set to try to convince Universal to green light it. It languished for a long time.”
He added, “To my mind, the first ‘Blade’ was instrumental in showing how superhero movies could exist at the end of the 20th century. There was a collision of ‘Dark City’ and ‘Blade’ that somehow, in subtle ways paved the way for ‘The Matrix’ to explode into the world. But, still, back then it was a counter-movement to try and do superhero films, especially with material that didn’t have Marvel numbers.”
Hellboy II: The Golden Army did not earn enough to continue the original franchise. It grossed $168 million against a budget of $85 million. The reboot in 2019 crashed and burned with a mere $44.6 million box office total against a budget of $50 million.
Featured image courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Flickr