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Hellboy Remake Swaps Out Stalin for Hitler in Russia

Posted 2019/04/18 19 0

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The Hellboy reboot, which has been off to something of a rocky start, has had an interesting wrinkle thrown into the mix, thanks to censors in Russia. This movie is going to need every single dollar it can get from international markets if it has any hope of becoming a success. So for Lionsgate, it’s great news that the movie is playing in Russia. They just decided to remove a reference to infamous Soviet political figure Joseph Stalin. In its place, they’ve added a reference to Adolf Hitler.

Warning: minor spoilers ahead for the Hellboy reboot. This is already a strange movie, filled with strange beasts. One of those beasts goes by the name of Baba Yaga, which is ripped from Russian folklore. At one point, David Harbour’s titular character is speaking with Baba Yaga and reminds him that he once tried to resurrect the spirit of Joseph Stalin by saying, “I recall you tried to raise Stalin’s ghost from a necropolis.” The Russian-language version of the movie, instead, contains this version of the line.

“I want to remind you, you tried to raise Hitler’s spirit from a necropolis.”

Theaters that decided to screen the English-language version of the movie also pulled a similar switch. During the moment of dialogue, the audio is bleeped when Stalin’s name is mentioned. Instead, the word “Hitler” is displayed across the screen in subtitles. Clearly, those in charge of censoring movies in Russia weren’t big on having Stalin’s name brought up during the course of a blockbuster cinema experience. So they went with a German political figure whose name carries with it a deep uneasiness, to say the very least.

The reboot of the franchise, which is based on Mike Mignola’s comic book series of the same name, was originally poised to possibly become the next great R-rated comic book franchise in Hollywood, ala Deadpool. Instead, it serves as another reminder that the superhero genre does not guarantee success. Guillermo del Toro, now an Oscar-winner for his work on The Shape of Water, directed two Hellboy movies, released in 2004 and 2008, that were perhaps a bit ahead of their time, but well-liked. For years, del Toro and star Ron Perlman, who played the titular character previously, were trying to get a third movie off the ground. Lionsgate, instead, opted for the reboot.

Related: Can Hellboy Stop Shazam’s Reign at the Box Office?

That proved to perhaps be the wrong call. Not only were there reports of unrest and chaos on the set of the Neill Marshall-directed movie during filming, but it has also been largely panned by critics, as it sits at a very poor 15 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The audience rating, however, is much more favorable, sitting at 62 percent. Still, the not-so-great buzz has led to mediocre results at the box office, as Hellboy has pulled in just $14.3 million domestically. Considering its $50 million budget, that’s far from ideal. This news was previously reported by the BBC.

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