Will the Hulk smash again?

One of Marvel Comics’ most popular heroes after Spider-Man, the Hulk has a checkered history of success and failure as a movie icon. Most well-known for the long-running TV series in the mid 1970’s starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, the Hulk is a tragic Jekyll and Hyde story with a super-heroic twist in the might Marvel manner.

In two years we will have our third Hulk actor since 2003 when Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island, Zodiac) takes up the mantle. There are rumors that a new Hulk solo movie may be in development, but given the lackluster success at the box office, should it be made?

In 2003- Hulk was released directed by Ang Lee and starring Eric Bana as Bruce Banner/The Hulk.

I’m one of the ten people on the planet who enjoyed this film and am still working on an article defending the movie. An ambitious project, the Ang Lee film features less than impressive CGi that caused many fans to refer to the Hulk as Shrek and a storyline that builds on Banner’s relationship with his abusive father played brilliantly by Nick Nolte. Not enough action, too much brooding, mutant poodle fights and artsy sequences that exploded into multi-angle screens mimicking the panel lay-out of comic books alienated many fans who perhaps were expecting a Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno homage.

In 2008- The Incredible Hulk was released. Directed by Louis Leterrier and starring Edward Norton as Banner/The Hulk.

This movie was much more successful with fans as it had a more engaging and action-oriented plot, a monstrous villain and improved CGi. The movie is a bit of a mess due to the fact that Marvel Entertainment was formed during the filming and interfered with some of Norton and Leterrier’s ideas, resulting in huge swathes of footage being cut, likely never to be seen. Marvel insisted that the 2008 movie be divorced completely from the 2003 release, which created some confusion. Still, a better film than the first for most viewers yet it made about as much as the 2003 movie which Universal considered a financial failure.

The closing moments of the 2008 Hulk film hint at a sequel in which Banner would face off against the mutated genius Sterns who had become altered by gamma-radiation as his lab was damaged by the Hulk.

2012 will see the release of The Avengers. Mark Ruffalo has been cast as Bruce banner/the Hulk in this ensemble film bringing together the many threads from two Iron Man movies, the Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America. Edward Norton had been in talks with Marvel leading up to the casting announcement and was snubbed at the last minute. I’m not familiar with Ruffalo’s work, but he seems to understand that he has a lot to live up to.

Ruffalo was recently interviewed in Empire magazine (on the stands this week featuring a spiffy Thor cover) and seems to think that another outing for the Hulk is possible. He casually mentions two more Avengers flicks as well.

Mark Ruffalo

“They set up several pictures over a couple of years and possibly there will be a Hulk movie,” he says in an interview with Empire Online. Dishing further on the studio’s plans, Ruffalo adds, “There’ll probably be a couple more Avengers too, which would be fun.”

Ruffalo is chosen to take over the role of Bruce Banner aka The Hulk from Edward Norton who played the character in “The Incredible Hulk”. Sharing his feeling about this opportunity, he says, “The way I see it, Edward Norton has bequeathed this role to me. I reckon the part is my generation’s Hamlet, and there’s still some room for interpreting who The Hulk is.”

Ruffalo will probably start shooting “The Avengers” in February 2011 in Los Angeles. The movie itself, which assembles the superhero team of Marvel Comics characters for the first time ever, is scheduled to arrive in U.S. cinemas on May 4, 2012.

Before Ruffalo hints on a possible solo “Hulk” movie, there have been talks about standalone film for another Marvel’s character Black Widow, who is portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in “Iron Man 2” and upcoming “The Avengers”. “We’ve already started discussions with Scarlett about the idea of a solo movie and have begun putting together concepts,” Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige told Superhero Hype in late September.

(Via http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00035851.html)

So the question stands. Is a third Hulk movie in development? If so, what should it be about?

There are plenty of loyal Daily P.O.P. visitors who are fans of the jade giant that I am sure have strong opinions on the matter, so let your opinions be heard!

10 thoughts on “Will the Hulk smash again?

  1. I’ve always wondered why everyone thinks Hulk was a big flop and the Incredible Hulk was a hit when both made about 130 million domestically. I guess it’s all about expectations?

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    • I think that it’s a combination of high expectations based on the domestic success of Spider-Man ( $114,844,116 in the opening weekend- #1 rank, 3,615 theaters, $31,768 average % of Total Gross: 28.4%) and X-Men ( $54,471,475, #1 rank, 3,025 theaters, $18,007 average, % of Total Gross: 34.6%) plus the lambasting that the critics gave Ang Lee’s movie. In the case of the ’08 film, there was surely a hope that the sequel would out-perform the 03 movie, but it actually did worse.

      Hulk 2003: $62,128,420- opening weekend
      (#1 rank, 3,660 theaters, $16,974 average)
      % of Total Gross: 47.0%

      Incredible Hulk 2008: Opening Weekend: $55,414,050
      (#1 rank, 3,505 theaters, $15,810 average)
      % of Total Gross: 41.1%

      By contrast:
      Iron Man 2008 made $98,618,668 in its opening weekend
      (#1 rank, 4,105 theaters, $24,024 average)
      % of Total Gross: 31.0%

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      • One major critic who did like the 2003 Ang Lee Hulk,and also thought it was better than the 2008 movie, was Roger Ebert. He gave interesting reviews to both of these movies. Have you read those Dailypop?

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      • Here’s a weird thought. I liked the 2003 film better but if I had to watch one again on a saturday afternoon I’d probably pick the 2008 film.

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  2. Good write up. I can’t help but draw similarities between Marvel’s Hulk franchise and DC/Warner’s Superman franchise. Both are iconic staples of the comic book industry, both were successful film/tv characters in the late ’70s, and both were studio fiascoes of the early 21st century. Being more of a Superman fan, I worry DC/Warner Brothers has learned nothing from the way the Hulk has been handled.

    I, for one, am a fan of Superman Returns… but it had it’s problems. And although I’m excited for the Nolan/Snyder film, I’m also disappointed with the reboot route. Given another chance, I think Singer could have made the successful sci-fi epic we all want a Superman film to be (and I still give real props to Singer for adding the kid. It was a chance to take the character of Superman in a totally new and unexplored direction. He tried to evolve the character and it bit him in ass.)

    Anyway, rebooting and recasting the Hulk got Marvel nowhere. Leterrier’s film was a hurried mess and Norton was probably miscast from the beginning. The way the studio handled that film shows how little respect and dignity they had for the character. When a studio doesn’t show much respect for it’s property the result tends to feel like a second class comic book film… like Ghost Rider or Daredevil. And it seems to me that audiences picked up on that and didn’t bother to go see the film.

    Is Warner Brothers showing any more respect for Superman? They’ve cut ties with the previous installment (confusing) and now they’re rushing a film into production to secure character rights (uh-oh.) Something tells me we’ll be recasting Superman a third time soon enough in a JLA movie… and, just like with the Hulk, we’ll be saying Supes doesn’t deserve any more stand-alone films.

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    • Weird – I thought Norton was perfectly cast and would’ve loved to see him reprise the role. He’s an amazing actor and he pulled Banner off very well…

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      • I agree on Norton being perfectly cast. He had some of the same qualities as an actor that made Bixby the ideal Banner. But everyone has their own opinion.

        Thanks for posting Cklockwork! I enjoy reading your blog, maybe my readers will give it a visit too, I hope so!

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  3. I don’t think that a reboot is at all needed for the Hulk. The lead actor changed three times in the 80’s Batman films without the need for one and the 2008 Hulk film has more similarities than contradictions with the ’03 version.

    I hope that Marvel sees the light and just releases another Hulk movie that progresses the character as the ’08 movie attempted to… if a thirds movie is even made at all.

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