Can the Hellboy Reboot Merge the Horror and Superhero Genres Successfully?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is looked upon enviously by other major studios in Hollywood who all want to emulate its success. So far, though, no other studio has come close to rivalling the $17 billion made by the MCU. Universal Pictures attempted to create a monsters universe, but a remake of 1959 classic The Mummy was not the kick-starter they had hoped it to be. It flopped terribly in 2017, putting the whole project on hold. There is a chance, however, that Hellboy could help bridge the gap between the horror and superhero genres and bring about a whole new cinematic universe for Summit Entertainment.

It’s been over ten years since Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army, but the great red beast is set to return to the silver screen this April in the rebooted Hellboy from Neil Marshall. David Harbour from Stranger Things will take the reins from Ron Perlman in the eponymous role and the 43-year-old will be accompanied by Ian McShane and Milla Jovavich. Hellboy possesses superhero qualities but is a long way removed from the clean-cut characters of the MCU. The Dark Horse Comics character is often associated with horror themes and could bridge the gap between the two genres. Indeed, we have already considered it among action horrors like Blade.

A potential cinematic universe revolving around Hellboy and other superhero and horror characters could be interesting. There is certainly much scope for the reboot to be successful, allowing Summit Entertainment to branch out from there. After all, the first movie in 2004 was quite well-received: despite the character being relatively unknown, it grossed a worldwide total of $99.4 million against a budget of $66 million.

Hellboy 2019

Since the release of the original, Hellboy has become more of a household figure and now has the pulling power to bring in much larger audiences. He has been prominent in the game world, with Hellboy from Microgaming being one of the most popular Betway online slots. For consoles, Hellboy: The Science of Evil was loosely based on Del Toro’s second instalment and, granted, received mixed reviews. Hellboy also appeared as a playable character in NetherRealm Studios’ Injustice 2, released in 2017.

In today’s market, 2004’s Hellboy could be considered fairly low-earning, and even that led to a 2008 sequel. This, coupled with the fact that Hellboy is now much better known in mainstream culture, suggests that Marshall’s reboot could be the start of a wider series with the Beast of the Apocalypse at its center. With the character having such a close link to dark themes, there could be an opportunity to make some more horror-focused movies in the franchise along with superhero titles.

There is likely to be a huge audience eagerly awaiting Hellboy’s long-anticipated return to the big screen. While some fans may have been hoping to see Perlman reprise his role, a lot of comic book forums suggest that most people are excited about what Harbour can bring to the character. If Marshall and the cast can pull off a worthy reboot of the much-loved 2000s movies, making horror and superhero meet, who knows just how big this franchise could become?

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