Road to Infinity War - THE INCREDIBLE HULK Retrospective

Welcome to the Road to AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. This is my own little retrospective of each of Marvel Studios' films every week of 2018 and by the time I am done looking back at all of the MCU movies, Infinity War will be releasing in theaters in the U.S. on May 4. I've already talked about IRON MAN, so let's continue to THE INCREDIBLE HULK...

The literal Black Sheep of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is 2008's THE INCREDIBLE HULK. A film distributed by Universal Studios and the second film produced by Marvel Studios on a $150 million budget.

First of all, Universal Studios distributed this film because they hold the distribution rights for all-things Incredible Hulk standalone films. This stands as fact even today as fans speculated why Marvel Studios never made a sequel to THE INCREDIBLE HULK up until about two years ago. It was revealed that Universal holds the distribution rights to Hulk solo movies so Disney would not be able to let its in-house distribution company, Buena Vista, distribute a sequel. Although there is a loophole that Disney and Marvel Studios have been able to exploit since THE INCREDIBLE HULK and that was how they could use the green rage monster in any ensemble film in a supporting role without Universal being involved. Thus why we've gotten Hulk in all Avengers movies and in THOR: RAGNAROK

THE INCREDIBLE HULK was Marvel Studios' second addition in building their expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, yet it did not come with lots of excitement.

Only five years after the release of Universal's HULK movie starring Eric Bana and directed by Ang Lee, Marvel Studios recasted the lead role with actor Edward Norton. There was some friction during the production of THE INCREDIBLE HULK as Norton also wanted writer credit for the film since he did a Page One re-write while sets were being written and to help Marvel Studios so they did not need to find a new writer, or to halt / delay production. Unfortunately, Norton never got any writing credit and this is why the studio recast the role of Bruce Banner / Hulk again for THE AVENGERS with Mark Ruffalo.

Regardless of all the turmoil between Norton and Marvel Studios, THE INCREDIBLE HULK released on time on 6/13/08 in the U.S. with $55 million. Nowhere near as good as the $98 million opening IRON MAN produced when it released just several weeks prior.

By the time its box office run ended, THE INCREDIBLE HULK only managed to make $263 million worldwide. Quite the low after IRON MAN took in well over $500 million and to this very day THE INCREDIBLE HULK still sits as Marvel Studios' lowest performing film both domestically and worldwide... but the studio pressed on with its plan to bring all of the Avengers to the big screen in their own solo films before teaming up for a big ensemble spectacle movie.

Written by Daniel Wolf, Founder & Publisher

Previous Road to Infinity War Posts:
Road to Infinity War - IRON MAN Retrospective