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Guillermo del Toro on Hellboy III

Acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro is booked solid through 2017, with upcoming projects such as film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.

 Variety reports, however, that those awaiting del Toro’s third installment in his Hellboy series—based on Mike Mignola’s red, stone-fisted  comic book hero—may need to cool their heels.

Released in July, Hellboy II: The Golden Army—which hit North American theaters just one week before summer blockbuster juggernaut, The Dark Knight —received a lukewarm domestic box office reception despite its critical praise. The film did, however, perform well overseas. For now, del Toro said, the future of the film series remains unknown.

"I think [Universal Studios will] decide when the last euro hits the piggybank," del Toro said. "We laid the groundwork to have a magnificent third act. I’d like to return to an action franchise with 60-year-old actor Ron Perlman, because he’ll be scratching at that age when I get to it."

Universal’s president of production Donna Langley told Variety that the studio may work with del Toro on a Hellboy television series and online segments to broaden the character’s audience before a third film enters development.

Sequel Senses Tingling

According to  The Hollywood Reporter, Spider-Man director Sam Raimi will helm the next two installments of the blockbuster film series, with Tobey Maguire reprising his role as the titular wallcrawler.

“The studio never considered any other actor. Tobey was our only choice and the only person we've discussed the role with,” studio spokesman Steve Elzer told The Hollywood Reporter.

Columbia Pictures plans to start filming the next two Spider-Man films back-to-back, aiming for a May 2011 release date for Spider-Man 4.

Columbia declined comment as to what villain(s) Spidey will be facing off against, and could not confirm whether Kirsten Dunst will return to the series as love interest Mary Jane Watson.

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