No Upcoming HULK Stand-Alone Movie

by on December 23, 2015

in Entertainment

production still of The Hulk fr The Avengers - Hulk Smash Character Rights

For me, the quick bottom line to this question is that Hulk, alone, does not pull in (enough) money. It’s like watching a giant three-year-old have a tantrum. But cooler because he can throw very big things at people.

And up until Hulk played Raggedy Andy with Loki and sucker punched Thor, not too many folks seemed to care that much about the character… until we found out [SPOILER->] that he’s “always angry.” WOW, that was a huge game changer! Thank you Joss Whedon.

But even if it’s not about the break-even to big profit monies that the Hulk movies have made, Mark Ruffalo says that there are rights issues going on between Marvel and Universal Pictures. Though they don’t look like show-stoppers to me.

Here’s the thing…  Universal held the rights and released the Ang Lee 2003 Hulk. They did not get a sequel out in time* and lost some of the rights to the character, so they reverted back to Marvel.  (Remember all those Superman or Spider-Man movies giving us origin after origin? That’s a movie studio looking to retain rights to a character, no matter how thin the stories got. In order to retain the character rights that a studio paid for, they had to produce a film with the character every “x” years.)

So after Univ. lost the character rights, Marvel cranked out The Incredible Hulk in 2008, but it was still distributed by Univ., because, Universal has distribution rights.

Wait… what? If Universal still holds the rights to what?

To clear up the Hulk Character Rights at Universal,

-Universal holds the distribution rights to future Hulk movies. This means that the big U has “the right of first refusal” to any film with the character in it. Meaning they could say no to distributing it.

-The character rights and licenses belong to Marvel. (Remember, Universal did not get a sequel out in time.)

To clarify: Usually the distributor is the one who gets the movie credits in the audience’s face. As an example, we all seem to refer to Pacific Rim as “from Warner Bros.” So we call it WB’s Pacific Rim. But the people at Legendary produced it, or put up most of the cash to film it, while WB’s put up the advertising cash to distribute it to theaters and co-pay on some production costs. This is how studios save money or “bank their bet” against too much loss with a film, by splitting costs one way or the other. The same can be said about TV shows, where some shows are produced by one network, and aired on another.

So this means that Marvel could make a solo Hulk film, which takes me back to just how much money can the big green guy make on his own? Not to mention that when Marvel, now controlled by Disney, wants the ENTIRE pocket full of cash, not just a piece of the pie.

Also, let’s keep one more thing in mind… the number of films that Mark Ruffalo has signed up for with Marvel looks to be four more from here on out.

But which four? Would those be as bit character roles in four films or could there be a stand-alone film in there? But can a good enough story be made around the character that would alleviate production cost fears? Sure, some stories worked great in comic form, but translating to film is a different matter.

Hey Universal… did you notice that Sony is letting Marvel run with Spider-Man?  Let it go Universal… play nice with “The Mouse.”

Resources: EW, Comicbook.

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