Hellboy 3 is one of those Holy Grails of long-delayed sequels that fans hoped would one day make it out of production limbo and onto the big screen. The first two Hellboy movies weren't slam-dunks, financially, but were great showcases of director Guillermo del Toro's unique imagination, which earned both films a very loyal cult-following.
Hellboy fans got a glimmer of hope earlier this year when del Toro launched an online poll to gauge fan interest in Hellboy III. That poll blew up with positive responses quicker than anyone ever imagined, leading fans to truly believe that the project could (finally) come together. However, as of today, Guillermo del Toro is proclaiming that Hellboy III is dead, and that it will never be resurrected.
Hellboy 3 Sorry to report: Spoke w all parties. Must report that 100% the sequel will not happen. And that is to be the final thing about it— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) February 21, 2017
Since the acclaimed filmmaker didn't elaborate, we're left to wonder: Who Killed Hellboy III?
The first and most obvious potential culprit is Universal. The Studio would be in an obvious bind when facing the prospect of funding Hellboy III; the first two films only made $99 million worldwide (on a $66 million budget) and $160 million worldwide (on an $85 million budget), respectively.
Given the law of increased spectacle with sequels, Guillermo del Toro would probably need a sizable budget to finish things properly - an investment that Universal would understandably be hesitant to make. The Hellboy property hasn't exactly been a cash-cow brand, so even merchandising would be a risky investment.
Bottom line: a cult-hit film franchise looking to make a blockbuster finale chapter isn't a prospect that most Hollywood studios would bet on - so the easy guess is that Universal simply didn't. With guaranteed hits like the Fast and the Furious franchise under their belt, the money could be better spent.
Guillermo del Toro
The other side of the coin is that when confronted with the tricky paradox mentioned on the previous page (cult movie looking for blockbuster budget), it was Guillermo del Toro, not the studio, who said no.
It could've been a mutually agreable conclusion, but it's only fair to at least consider that it was del Toro who was unhappy with an offer the studio put on the table, rather than the studio simply shooting him down.
Maybe there was a more modest budget offered that del Toro couldn't live with (budget conflicts have long been rumored as a reason for Hellboy III's delay); maybe some kind of creative difference, etc. If the filmmaker didn't feel like the plan was up to fan standards, we know he would've declined.
We only mention this because Perlman is a center piece of the Hellboy franchise, but also a busy actor who (despite always respecting fan passion for his return) has in many ways moved on.
If Hellboy III didn't have the right scheduling or payout then Perlman could have conceivably passed on the project - or simply grown tired of the back and forth and "maybe" of it all, putting a definitive "no" on the matter.
It's highly unlikely, but we have to consider everything...
Hellboy creator Mike Mignola spent twenty-two years (since 1994) making the character an acclaimed (and awarded) hit on the comic book page, but he retired the series last June, and has since moved on.
Mignola doesn't have any official power over whether or not the studio makes another Hellboy, but his opinion might go a long way to affecting those who do. If he wanted to let things rest where they are, del Toro might respect that.
Here's what Mignola said about the franchise in an interview with The Guardian last year: "I appreciate that level of enthusiasm, but please don’t anybody ever again talk to me about doing a Kickstarter. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars; I don’t see raising it in nickels and dimes. “What do you mean you’re not making a third one? Those movies were so good!” They didn’t make a lot of money, and that’s one of the big things people look for."