After starring in two standalone films of his own that were praised by critics but elicited tepid responses from audiences (2003’s Hulk, starring Eric Bana, and 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, starring Edward Norton), The Hulk will get another shot at box office glory on Friday, when The Avengers opens in the United States. This time, he will be played by Mark Ruffalo, and the prospects look, well, much greener — The Avengers has already amassed $178 million overseas, where it has been playing for a mere five days. Chances are that the movie will top a billion bucks worldwide, when all is said and done.
And, not surprisingly, that means Marvel is once again ready to try a standalone project starring Mr. Bruce Banner. In an interview with Forbes, the comic giant’s Paul Gitter said: “[The Hulk’s] sales are up in a major way. We repositioned him from where he was always misunderstood to now depicting him in a more heroic and aspirational manner.” Hence the desire to give him his own movie again, in spite of two prior box office warm-burners.
No word yet on whether this 2015 release will star Ruffalo, but one assumes it will. Whether or not he makes a compelling Bruce Banner in The Avengers, the use of Ruffalo in the new Hulk would be a good thing, because it would mean the movie probably wouldn’t take an identical trajectory to the last two (we wouldn’t have to see how the Hulk “came to be” once again, because we would have already seen him in action).
This news comes in addition to a recent report that Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers and Iron Man 2, may be getting her own standalone feature. Marvel’s superheroes really do seem to be taking over the world, one movie at a time.