Report: Incredible Hulk Rights Aren’t Keeping Marvel From Making a New Hulk Movie
While promoting Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mark Ruffalo expressed interest in making a new solo Hulk movie, and he also suggested a possible reason why it hasn’t happened yet: Universal still has the rights to distribute future Hulk films, which is something Marvel would need to figure out to move forward. A new report suggests that the rights issue may not entirely be an obstacle after all — the only thing keeping Marvel from making a Hulk movie is Marvel itself.
Here’s what Ruffalo said in April:
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.
But according to a new report from Forbes (via Slashfilm), that’s not exactly the case. Universal still holds distribution rights for future Hulk films — that part is true. But Marvel holds the rights and license to the character itself. Universal has what’s called “the right of first refusal,” meaning that, if Marvel chooses to make a new Hulk movie, Universal basically gets first dibs on whether or not to distribute the film. If they pass, the distribution rights are up for grabs, and another studio can distribute it (like Marvel).
So if Marvel decided to make a sequel to the last Incredible Hulk movie, or if they wanted to make Planet Hulk (the character’s departure at the end of Age of Ultron hints at that possibility), they definitely could. It seems the real issue Marvel is facing with Hulk is finding a great story to tell and making sure they get it right this time.
Marvel’s future slate is pretty full through 2019, but they did manage to squeeze a new Spider-Man film in there once they struck a deal with Sony. Anything is possible, but don’t get your hopes up for a new Hulk movie for the next few years, at least.