Screen Rant's Ryan George reveals what (probably) happened in the pitch meeting for Guillermo del Toro's 2004 Hellboy movie, starring Ron Perlman as the big red guy. Created by comic book writer and artist Mike Mignola, Hellboy made his debut in the pages of Dark Horse comics in the 1990s, sporting his sawed-off horns and iconic Right Hand of Doom.
Despite his intimidating appearance and gruff demeanor, Hellboy is really a good boy who just happens to have demonic origins and a potentially apocalyptic destiny. Del Toro, who has a soft spot for tragic but lovable monsters, was pretty much a perfect choice to direct a Hellboy movie, and both Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army are mostly fondly regarded by fans of the comics. The films also starred Doug Jones in typically heavy prosthetic make-up as Hellboy's fishy friend Abe Sapien, which ultimately served as something of a dry run or Jones' later role in Oscar-winning fish-man romance The Shape of Water (also directed by del Toro).
Hellboy is an origin story that begins with an adorable baby Hellboy being discovered by Allied troops in 1944, after the Nazis and Grigori Rasputin opened a portal to another dimension. After giving the infant a Babe Ruth and thereby firmly securing their father-son bond, Professor Bruttenholm (John Hurt) adopts little Hellboy and recruits him for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. Also on the team are Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), who has an unfortunate and sometimes useful habit of setting things on fire, and new FBI transfer John Myers (Rupert Evans).
Unfortunately for Hellboy, the 2004 film failed to set the box office on fire, grossing less than $100 million worldwide. Hellboy II: The Golden Army performed slightly better, but still not enough to secure a third movie from del Toro. Instead, Lionsgate recruited Dog Soldiers director Neil Marshall to helm a reboot starring Stranger Things' David Harbour in the lead role, and a new Hellboy arrived in theaters in April 2019. It appears as though a third del Toro movie might have been a safer bet, though, as Marshall's film received dismal reviews and scarcely half the opening weekend box office take that the original Hellboy had managed 15 years previously.
Hellboy 2019's fate was sealed in its third weekend, when it was completely flattened by the arrival of all-consuming box office monstrosity Avengers: Endgame, and after three attempts that fell short of studio's hopes, we may have seen the last of Hellboy on the big screen for a while. Still, at least he got his "save the cat" moment.