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Every now and then, you’ll come across an instance where a movie has been edited because it’s airing in a particular country, like how some of the entries on Steve Rogers’ to-do list in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Solider were different depending on where the film was released. In the case of the Hellboy reboot, its Russian release was apparently adjusted so that a reference to Joseph Stalin was replaced with a different notorious historical figure being mentioned.
If you’ve already seen Hellboy, you might recall a moment when the eponymous protagonist mentions how the one-eyed with Baba Yaga, one of the movie’s side villains, once tried to resurrect Joseph Stalin. Here are his exact words:
I recall you tried to raise Stalin's ghost from a necropolis.
However, per BBC News, Russian moviegoers heard this line instead:
I want to remind you, you tried to raise Hitler's spirit from a necropolis.
That’s right, rather than reference the man who led the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1953, the Russian version of Hellboy decided to mention Adolph Hitler instead, another dictator from the mid-20th century. This isn’t the first time that a movie in Russia has had to deal with Stalin-related censorship, as last year the UK comedy The Death of Stalin was denied release in the country because it was deemed “disgusting” and “extremist.”
Going off social media responses, evidently many Russian viewers were not pleased with Stalin’s name being replaced with Hitler’s in Hellboy. It was also noted online that Baba Yaga mentioning Hitler doesn’t really make any sense since she’s a Russian folklore character.
For the English screenings of Hellboy in Russian, Stalin’s name was bleeped and the subtitles included Hitler’s name instead. This was one of only two ways that Hellboy was censored in Russia, the other being a Russian curse word that Grigori Rasputin (another Russian historical figure) utters being removed.
While the exact reasoning for why Stalin’s name was taken out of Hellboy, BBC’s article also noted that a recent poll showed that 70% of Russians believe Stalin played a positive role in Russian history. So this could just be an instance of not wanting to portray such a notable individual in a negative light.
In any case, the rest of Hellboy played the same in Russia as it did domestically. Hitting theaters last week, the reboot has taken a beating both critically and commercially, collecting a lot of negative reviews (it ranks at 15% on Rotten Tomatoes and has a C CinemaScore) and making only $15 million worldwide so far. There was also reportedly some major drama that went on during production.
Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more news about Hellboy, and don’t forget to look through our 2019 release schedule to learn what movies are coming out later this year.