David Harbour is well aware that his version of Hellboy failed both critically and at the box office. The Stranger Things actor now says he understands why. He believes most of the movie‘s woes can be laid at the feet of the Guillermo Del Toro fans, who weren’t too keen on a reboot of the original Ron Perlman-led franchise.
The new Hellboy movie was released last year as a reimaging of Mike Mignola’s comic book. It was far grittier and bloodier than the first two films, in which Perlman played the titular character. Critics also felt it lacked the character development of the first versions. A combination of those complaints, and a total score of 31 on Metacritic, saw the film fail to even equal its $50 million total budget in revenue.
Harbour’s version of Hellboy managed to bring in just $44 million at box offices worldwide, and it hasn’t done that much better on-demand. While these kinds of action-adventure movies sometimes do better with fans than the media, this particular project couldn’t even find a home in the hearts and minds of the biggest devotees of the source material.
As Rachel Labonte of Screen Rant reports, Harbour explained on an Instagram Live session why he thinks those devotees are the reason his Hellboy never had a shot.
“I think it failed before we began shooting because I think that people didn’t want us to make the movie and for some reason there was like a big… Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman created this iconic thing that we thought could be reinvented and then they certainly – the loudness of the internet was like, “We do not want you to touch this.”
Harbour doesn’t appear to hold a grudge against fans of the first two films. He simply believes he was attached to a project that was destined to be hurt by the lack of interest in a reboot.
He does believe their reluctance to see a fresh take on the story was unfair, and that they might have liked the remake if they had given it a chance. Still, the actor — who says that his version of Hellboy was very fun, despite its controversy — says that he learned his lesson from working on the project, “in a lot of different ways.”
The movie’s failure doesn’t seem to have hurt Harbour’s career in any way. Last month, it was confirmed he will be returning to Stranger Things‘ fourth season. He’s also set to make his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the delayed but still highly anticipated, Black Widow.