The upcoming Hellboy reboot may have found a distributor in Lionsgate. While never as popular as heroes like Batman or Spider-Man, Hellboy is definitely a character with a loyal fanbase. First appearing on the comics page in 1993, Mike Mignola's infernal hero quickly became well-known for things like his unique look, sarcastic sense of humor, and ability to beat the holy hell out of villains both large and small.
Hellboy was, of course, finally brought to live-action life in 2004 by Ron Perlman, in Guillermo del Toro's film bearing the character's name. A critical darling, Hellboy achieved only decent success in theaters, hauling in $99 million worldwide on a budget of $66 million. Still, the movie's legion of fans continued to grow on home video, leading to the 2008 sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Hellboy II performed much better, bringing in $160 million worldwide on an $85 million budget.
Despite del Toro and Perlman teasing the prospect many times in the years since, Helllboy III never managed to materialize, with both officially pronouncing the project dead earlier this year. Not coincidentally, that death was quickly followed by new cinematic life for Hellboy, in the form of a reboot starring Stranger Things' resident lawman David Harbour as Big Red. Attached to direct is Neil Marshall, helmer of The Descent. One thing that hadn't been attached up until now was a distributor, but as first reported by Splash Report, Lionsgate is in talks to assume that role.
If such a deal is finalized, it will mark the Hellboy franchise's third distributing studio in as many films. Del Toro's original movie was distributed by Columbia Pictures, with Universal Pictures then stepping in to distribute Hellboy II. One wonders if Marshall's past working relationship with Lionsgate played into the possible acquisition, as the studio previously distributed the aforementioned Descent, arguably the film that put Marshall on the map as a director to watch.
Currently working under the title Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, Marshall and Harbour's Hellboy reboot is slated to begin production this fall, from a script co-written by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. Harbour has said that this new take on Hellboy will be darker, with Marshall planning to shoot for an R-rating. With hard-edged, R-rated efforts like Hostel and Dredd on its resume, Lionsgate seems well suited to accommodating Marshall's goals.
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