Box Office Info:
|Budget: $50 million||Financed by: Millennium Films|
|Domestic Gross: $21,903,748||Overseas Gross: Still in release|
Producer Larry Gordon optioned the Hellboy rights in the late 90s and the first installment was produced at Revolution Studios in 2004. After it did mediocre box office business, but solid home video sales, the sequel moved over to Universal and again did mediocre theatrical business in 2008 and then found a larger audience in ancillary markets. In 2016 Guillermo del Toro began discussing the possibility of helming a third Hellboy picture with producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin, but they hit an impasse when del Toro wanted a bump in the budget from the $85M cost of the second film. Gordon and Levin decided to reboot the series with a lower budget sans Guillermo del Toro.
With the original auteur director removed from the project, the producers shopped the Hellboy property around for financing, where it landed at schlock specialists Millennium Films — which should have immediately been a warning sign to moviegoers that this would not end well. With access to Millennium’s Bulgaria based studio, Hellboy‘s budget came in at a thrifty $50 million. Millennium took Hellboy to the 2017 Cannes Film Festival for pre-sales and the picture sold very well, including a $13M sale to JL Vision Film for a China release. As per Millennium’s usual financing model of pre-selling their garbage to global distributors, they had little to no exposure to the budget.
Two months after the project was introduced to buyers at Cannes, Lionsgate acquired US and UK rights hoping to launch a series and Hellboy would yet again mark another failed attempt by the mini-major to land a franchise — which had recently struck out with Robin Hood (2018), Kin and Power Rangers. Lionsgate first dated Hellboy for January 11, 2019, but pushed it back to April 12.
As the release was approaching the movie was tracking modestly well at around $25M, but then the reviews began to post, which were dreadful. Along with being excoriated by critics, production problems began to leak to the press about cinematographer Sam McCurdy being unfairly fired by the producers; director Neil Marshall (Doomsday) clashing with the producers; Lloyd Levin apparently gave direction to actors to overrule Marshall’s direction; the script was haphazardly reworked on set and in some cases by the principal actors — and then it was speculated that Marshall was actually encouraging the production leaks, so this mess would not reflect so poorly on him but on the producers. Hellboy was shaping up to be a trainwreck and its opening estimates were lowered to about $16M – $21M.
Lionsgate did their fair share to sell this stinker and aided the release with an expensive marketing push. $18.42M were spent on TV ads (as per iSpotTV) and after other traditional advertising and distribution expenses, the domestic P&A costs were certainly north of $35M. Hellboy bowed against Little, After and Missing Link. While Hellboy was the only R-rated comic book fare in the marketplace, the endless glut of these movies had holdovers Shazam! and Captain Marvel in release and the pic would have competition with the Pet Sematary remake in its second frame — and Avengers: Endgame was set for release in just two weeks.
Hellboy came in well below estimates at $12,045,147 — placing #3 for the weekend led by Shazam!. Auds gave the movie a toxic C Cinemascore and it plunged 67.2% to $3,951,098 in its second frame. When Avengers: Endgame opened and took most of the marketplace for itself, Hellboy sank 91% to $354,575 and the domestic run closed with a terrible $21,903,748. Lionsgate would see returned about $12M after theaters take their percentage of the gross.
Hellboy has been released in the majority of international markets and has so far performed poorly. The offshore cume stands at $18,166,711 from 40 territories. A few countries are set to open through June and a China date is TBD. More as the overseas numbers come in…