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July 10, 2008

Should There Be Another Hulk Movie?

— Posted by John Campea

Five years ago we were treated to the first live action Hulk movie under the guidance of award winning director Ang Lee. Lee gave us a different vision of a comic book movie. He made the film more personal, more character centric… more human (with some hulk dogs thrown in for good measure). The vast majority of film fans seem to have hated that Hulk film (I liked it… but I can also see why others didn’t). So being just five years ago it struck us with a lot of amazement that Marvel was taking a crack at re-launching the franchise.

It’s not unimaginable to reboot a franchise obviously… but one that was only 5 years old (granted, there was only 8 years between George Clooney’s Batman and Robin and the Christain Bale Batman Begins)? It seemed terribly soon for a reboot… especially when you consider that the general movie going audience still had such a bad taste in it’s mouth from the first one.

But Marvel believed in the character and pushed forward… and it looks like a lot of people are happy they did as the majority of people seem to agree that this new Incredible Hulk is a lot better than the Ang Lee version. Fantastic. But here’s the catch… The Incredible Hulk is entering it’s 5 week of wide release (last weekend it made just over $3 million) and at this point it has made LESS money than the first Hulk film. Add on top of that the fact that this one cost more (just under $15 million) to make.

So while a lot of people can agree this Hulk was a solid effort, you’ve got to think that at this point the board rooms over at Marvel are debating weather another Hulk film is even a possibility financially. And I’ll tell you right now… THERE IS A VERY STRONG POSSIBILITY YOU WILL NOT SEE HULK IN THE AVENGERS MOVIE.

When all is said and done, The incredible Hulk will break even and probably make a little coin for the studio… but when a movie costs between $150 – $200 million to make (you know they’d have to make the budget for the next one at least a little bit bigger), just barely getting your head above water on the last film just doesn’t cut it. There is far too much money to be lost for a new production company like Marvel at this stage of the game.

Iron Man is a different story. That movie has made more money domestically (over $300 million) than Hulk has made internationally ($220 million world wide so far). It’s a no brainer to do a sequel to that film. The profit margin is huge. Not so much with the Hulk (if it ends up making profit at all when all is said and done).

WHY WE COULD SEE ANOTHER HULK FILM

Despite all the negatives listed above, not all hope is lost for the big green guy. Many could look at the box office results for The Incredible Hulk and see it as a big victory. After all… only 5 years removed from a previous version that just about everyone hated… and it STILL is going to make about the same amount of money? Doesn’t that suggest the possibility that since you now have a film people LIKED, then the next one could be even more successful? Iron Man didn’t have that giant monkey around it’s neck. No previous version with Kevin Costner as Tony Stark that everyone hated. It had a clean slate and it cleaned up. One could argue that The Hulk now has a clean (or better than clean) slate from which to move forward from. That’s no guarantee… but it’s at least something to think about.

Marvel clearly has grand plans, and we know that making another Hulk film in the next 3 years isn’t one of them. His appearance in the Avengers movie is questionable at this point considering he would be the single most expensive element in the entire film to bring to screen and it doesn’t look like he’s a huge attraction to the audience. It’s hard to call at this point.

Personally I really hope we see The Hulk on the screen again… in his own film and in the Avengers, but you certainly couldn’t blame the execs over at Marvel if they decide to go in a different direction.

So what do you think. Put your personal feelings aside for a minute and answer this: If YOU were an exec over at Marvel, would you look at continuing The Hulk character at this point, or would you move in another direction? Why?

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