If Marvel Studios ever wants to do another solo Hulk film, it looks like they’ll have to smash through some tricky rights issues.
According to Hulk/Bruce Banner actor Mark Ruffalo, Universal Studios still holds the distribution rights to a Hulk feature film. Citing the Hulk as a “Universal property,” Ruffalo indicated that Marvel won’t move forward with an Incredible Hulk sequel until they get the Jade Giant back to themselves.
“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,” Ruffalo told Collider. “Now I don’t think that’s insurmountable, by the way, but I don’t know where it’s going from here for me.”
So, even though Marvel Studios can produce and create a Hulk solo, film, they’d have cede some of the distribution profits to Universal, whom they made a distribution deal with for 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. And while the Disney-less Marvel needed Universal to help distribute back then, that’s no longer the case.
Regardless of what shape the Hulk’s cinematic future takes, expect Ruffalo to be a part of it. As the actor also revealed, he has at least four more Marvel movies left in his contract, but could always do more.
“I think it’s four now, but that could always go further,” he said. “That could include different—I could show up in another character’s movie; I could do Avengers 3 and 4; I could do a Hulk standalone; I could do a combination of those things. That’s four or five, I think.”
Ruffalo’s Hulk will next appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1.
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