Since Mark Ruffalo stepped into the role of Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the first “The Avengers” film and won over many hearts in the process, there’s been a push for a standalone Hulk feature with Ruffalo’s incarnation.
Marvel has been asked repeatedly about the possibility but has seem oddly uninterested in the idea. A while back a quote from Ruffalo caused a stir because it seemed to have discovered a reason – that Universal still held the rights to produce a standalone Hulk movie. At the time Ruffalo said:
“As far as a Hulk movie, a standalone Hulk movie, Marvel doesn’t really have the rights to that yet. That’s still Universal’s property, so there’s that issue. That’s a big impediment to moving forward with that. Now I don’t think that’s insurmountable, by the way, but I don’t know where it’s going from here for me.”
This week though, Forbes has uncovered some more information which says that’s only partially correct. It seems Marvel Studios has the rights to produce a new Hulk after all and have had the rights to do so since 2005.
The catch is that Universal still has the ‘right of first refusal’ over the films distribution rights which means Marvel could make the film with no problem, but Universal would have the right to distribute it unless they decide not to – in which case Disney could scoop them right up.
So if it’s a matter of sorting out a simple agreement, something Marvel has shown it is happy to do, why hasn’t the film happened? The article suggests the previous films have both not been creatively or financially successful enough for the studio to warrant such a project.