Marvel Studios was disappointed in Universal Pictures’ marketing of The Incredible Hulk.
Many fans forget that Marvel Studios’ 2008 debut into cinemas was not just forged with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. Roughly a month after the blockbuster film hit theaters, Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk which starred Edward Norton as Dr. Bruce Banner, premiered. The film, which was distributed by Universal Pictures is the canonical second entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Incredible Hulk was considered a modest success at the box office, grossing $263.4 million at the global box office. Edward Norton was originally expected to reprise his role in The Avengers, but parted ways with Marvel Studios over creative differences and was replaced with Mark Ruffalo. The film remains the lowest-grossing entry in the entire MCU, and it appears that the studio was dissatisfied with Universal Pictures’ marketing campaign.
According to Tara Bennett and Paul Terry’s book, The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the studio was unhappy with how The Incredible Hulk was promoted to audiences:
“With no long-term benefits for their efforts, it became a concern that Universal was, for lack of a better phrase, phoning in the marketing of the movie. Pragmatically, they had no incentive to invest in Marvel Studios. [Marvel Studios producer Stephen Broussard] knew The Incredible Hulk was going to place second [to Iron Man], so there was personal pressure about landing the movie that might lose money for the studio’s risky two-picture launch.”
Given the success of The Incredible Hulk’s portrayal by Mark Ruffalo in Marvel Studios’ first Avengers film, many have wondered why another standalone film with Dr. Banner was never greenlit. Well, Universal still holds the distribution rights to standalone films, so the only non-Avengers film that included him was Thor: Ragnarok, which featured elements from the popular “Planet Hulk” comic book story.
Mark Ruffalo will reprise his role as Dr. Bruce Banner AKA The Incredible Hulk in the upcoming Marvel Studios Disney Plus series, She-Hulk. Tatiana Maslany portrays the titular lead Jennifer Walters alongside supporting cast members including Tim Roth as The Abomination, Ginger Gonzaga, Renee Elise-Goldsberry and Jameela Jamil.
She-Hulk is currently slated for a 2022 release on Disney Plus. Stay tuned for all the latest news on the future of the Incredible Hulk and Marvel’s upcoming Disney Plus original series and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content!