David Harbour has had massive success on television thanks to his starring role on Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” but his film career in recent years hasn’t been as promising. Harbour was the face of Neil Marshall’s 2019 “Hellboy” reboot, which earned some of last year’s worst reviews and box office numbers. The film carried a $50 million production budget but only made $44 million worldwide. The gross at the domestic box office was a paltry $21 million. “Hellboy” was by all accounts a misfire, but Harbour says the project never stood a chance at success because of the animosity that surrounded the reboot from the start. The actor says “Hellboy” fans, many of whom adore Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 movie and its 2008 sequel, were against the film before cameras started rolling.
“I think it failed before we began shooting because I think that people didn’t want us to make the movie,” Harbour said on Instagram this week (via Screen Rant). “Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman created this iconic thing that we thought could be reinvented and then [fans] certainly — the loudness of the internet was like, ‘We do not want you to touch this.’ And then we made a movie that I think is fun and I think had its problems but was a fun movie and then people were just very very against it and that’s people’s right but I learned my lesson in a lot of different ways.”
Harbour previously said his “Hellboy” reboot was “unfairly bludgeoned” because moviegoers compare every tentpole these days to Marvel movies. The actor is right when he says del Toro’s “Hellboy” movies have a passionate and vocal following on the internet. Del Toro fans have long wanted the filmmaker to make a third “Hellboy” film, so there was backlash towards rebooting the franchise without del Toro and Perlman. Del Toro’s 2008 sequel “The Golden Army” was not a financial hit, which more or less killed his chances of directing a third movie. Del Toro pitched “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola on an idea to turn his third movie into a comic book, but the author turned him down.
“I think del Toro mentioned it to me once, and I said no,” Mignola said last summer. “I think, let the comics be the comics. Comics are confusing enough for people. Let’s not have two different versions of the ‘Hellboy’ comic out there. My vote would be to say no.”
Fortunately for Harbour, his film career should bounce back in a big way later this year with “Black Widow.” The Marvel Cinematic Universe tentpole was originally scheduled for release on May 1 but will open sometime later this year.