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David Harbour Blames Hellboy’s Disappointing Box Office on Marvel Comparisons

Hell Boy Bomb Shame

The Lionsgate Hellboy reboot was a massive misfire from the production company. It didn’t come together, got really bad reviews, and only made $20 million in the U.S. with a $50 million budget. David Harbour, the Hellboy himself, was asked about the film during a conversation with Digital Spy and gave his own thoughts on the reason for the low turnout.

In the discussion, Harbour admitted that there were problems with the movie coming from behind the scenes, but he also said that another issue is the fact that Marvel has sort of monopolized the image of what a comic book movie “should” feel like:

“The problem that I have with comic book movies nowadays is that I think, and it’s a result of the power of Marvel stuff, it’s like chocolate, it’s a flavor. So everybody [says] chocolate is delicious and these guys make the best chocolate. So as you judge the movies, it’s like, ‘Well, it’s not as chocolatey as this, this does not taste like chocolate at all.’ And I sort of want a world where there’s more flavors than just comparisons to chocolate. So in that way when ‘Hellboy’ is viewed on the chocolate spectrum, it does very poorly. That being said, it also has major problems.”

Harbour went on to say the movie works as “a rental” that would make people say, “‘Oh that was fun’ because it’s a fun movie, and I think it was unfairly bludgeoned as a result of these comparisons.”

Listen, the Hellboy remake was bad because the movie was poorly put together with a weak script, limited-range performances, and an artistic vision that didn’t really come together in the end. It happens. However, to say that Marvel has ruined all other comic book movie material is a silly excuse, because you know what came out last year and became fifth highest-grossing film of 2018? DC’s Aquaman. Number seven was Venom, and while that’s technically a Marvel character, it was not a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. We have turned out for the other flavors. Even Justice League and Batman v Superman, which are not universally enjoyed movies, made $657.9 million and $873.6 million respectively.

So while, yes, the MCU has been hugely successful and high-grossing at the box office, it doesn’t mean that other comic book movies can’t find their place to shine and do well. Venom was not a good movie, but it struck a chord with audiences, was hella fun, and embraced its queerness fully. Aquaman had very mixed reviews, but damn it was good fun, and beautiful, and stuck the landing on what it wanted to be. Aquaman made over a billion dollars worldwide.

Hellboy is an amazing intellectual property. It has a huge amount of dedicated fans who have been supporting the comics and the Guillermo del Toro-directed films. Plus, many people were already disappointed that, instead of allowing del Toro and Pearlman to wrap up their trilogy, they instead just gave it to someone else. Also, no one would come into Hellboy expecting it to be Marvel; they would be comparing it to del Toro, if anything.

Well, we shall see what comparisons come up when Harbor makes his MCU debut in the upcoming Black Widow prequel movie.

Black Widow says, "That's not a question I need answered," in Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron.

(via IndieWire, image: Lionsgate)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.