A bidding battle is under way in Cannes for Chinese rights to the reboot of the “Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen” franchise. The project is being represented by Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films.
With bids in the region of $13 million for mainland China, the film is one of the hottest on the Croisette. International buyers are understood to have been told that the picture will be guaranteed a 2,000-screen release in North America.
The new “Hellboy” project emerged a couple of weeks ago with Mike Mignola, who created the original “Hellboy” comic, breaking the news on Facebook.
“Game of Thrones” and “The Descent” director Neil Marshall is attached to helm the film, and “Stranger Things” actor David Harbour in talks to star.
Among the highest bids for China is one understood to have come from a Guangzhou-based company that is not known to be a mainstream distributor. Finding the price too rich and fearing that the deal may collapse, other companies have dropped out.
Millennium has several action and genre projects that appeal to mainstream Chinese audiences. It licensed two — “Hunter Killer” and “Escobar” — in Berlin. Since the end of March, Millennium has been 51% owned by diverse Chinese conglomerate Recon.
Fans have been asking about a third “Hellboy” for years, following the original 2004 film and the 2008 sequel “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” both of which starred Ron Perlman as the titular superhero and were directed by Guillermo del Toro. Both Perlman and del Toro had previously talked down rumors of a third installment, with Perlman saying last year that “Hellboy 3” “probably will never happen.” Sony released the original “Hellboy,” with Universal distributing the sequel.