What do the Black Widow and the Hulk have in common aside from one forced romance? Well, the two are the MCU’s top contenders for a solo film, but Mark Ruffalo is now letting fans in on why a Hulk standalone may never happen.
During an interview with Collider, Ruffalo opened up about why a Hulk movie was an apparent impossibility.
So, spoiler alert: it all comes down to film rights.
“That’s still Universal’s property... Now, I don’t think that’s insurmountable, by the way, but I don’t know where it’s going from here for me.”
Fans may be wondering then how the Hulk can show up in MCU films if there is a rights issue, but the debate comes down to the specific rights Universal Studios has over the Hulk. In Hollywood, there are two types of film rights: production and distribution.
As you may have guessed, production rights are the important ones for a studio to have. The film production rights are the ones which give a studio an okay to use intellectual property in a film. Marvel Studios owns those rights for Iron Man, Thor, and more. The studio also has production rights for the Hulk after Universal’s production rights defaulted in 2003.
However, Universal seems to have distribution rights for the Hulk in its hands.
Distribution rights may not seem as important as production rights, but they mean a great deal for studios. The rights give studios the ability to put films into theaters and home video afterwards. Marvel Studios has bought up most of the distribution rights it previously sold to places like Paramount Studio. However, the deal Marvel made with Universal may be more open-ended and cost a lot more to buyout. Right now, Universal doesn’t appear to be interested in selling those distribution rights back to Marvel, and the latter’s parent company Disney does not want to make a film it can’t distribute in-house.
In the past, Ruffalo has said similar things about the chances of a Hulk standalone moving forward. The actor told fans at Disney’s D23 Expo this summer that he doesn’t see the film in the cards.
"I just want to make one thing perfectly clear today, a standalone Hulk movie will never happen, because Universal has the rights to the standalone Hulk movie and for some reason, they don't know how to play well with Marvel, and they don't want to make money."
Continuing, Ruffalo admitted, "We've talked about it, but I just don't see it in the cards."
Fans will see the Hulk return to theaters next in Thor: Ragnarok. If you are excited for the film, give it your personal Anticipation Ranking below!