Peacock is getting its hands on some superhero movies. Beginning August 1st, subscribers will be able to watch The Hulk (2003), The Punisher (2004), and Punisher: War Zone (2008) on NBC's streaming service. These Marvel films exist outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as both Punisher movies were distributed by Lionsgate while The Hulk is a Universal Pictures product. Hulk, which starred Eric Bana in the titular role, grossed $245 million on a $137 million budget. Despite the satisfactory box office return, the film's planned sequel was repurposed as The Incredible Hulk, a reboot set inside the MCU. The Punisher movies both failed to impress financially, as their combined $65 million earnings fell short of a total $68 million budget. Frank Castle would also be subject to a reboot years after the failed theatrical attempts, with Jon Bernthal taking over the role in Netflix's Daredevil and the subsequent The Punisher spin-off series.
Despite the reprisal opportunities that now exist with the MCU opening up the multiverse, Bana said he's content if he never turns into the giant green rage monster again.
"It was always going to be a frustrating character to play," Bana said of playing Bruce Banner. "The challenge is to convey all that pent-up, repressed energy, emotion. It's one reason why I was excited to do it, but it's not the most expressive character to portray because that job is for the alter ego; you're meant to feel euphoric when he finally turns into the Hulk.
"In some ways, I'm lucky because the thing that I love more than anything is having choice and freedom," Bana continued. "I've been able to bounce around and do different things and choose different pathways. I'm a commitment-phobe — that's the reason why up until now I haven't done series television because work security doesn't speak to me. I like work insecurity." He wrapped up with a lesson he learned from a friend, who helped him move on from Hulk: "A friend of mine gave me a really great piece of advice one day. 'What's the best possible thing that can come out of this if you say yes? And if the answer is you're going to keep getting offered things that you don't want to do, what's the point?'"
Peacock's acquisition of these titles further expands Marvel's reach across the streaming world. Disney+ currently holds the majority of the MCU movies as well as numerous original Marvel Studios' shows, legacy X-Men and Fantastic Four movies, and an abundance of animated programs. Beyond the House of Mouse, HBO Max currently has the aforementioned The Incredible Hulk and Netflix will have the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy beginning August 1st.