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November 6, 2006

The Incredible Hulk To Smash Into Theaters June 27, 2008

The following was originally posted on Marvel.com:

LEGENDARY MARVEL SUPER HERO TO RETURN TO THE BIG SCREEN IN ALL-NEW, ACTION-PACKED ADAPTATION HITTING SUMMER 2008

HOLLYWOOD, CA, November 6, 2006 – You WILL like him when he's angry! Marvel Studios and Universal Pictures will unleash Marvel's renowned, larger-than-life green Super Hero onto moviegoers everywhere in summer 2008 as they have announced a June 27th release date for the action-packed, new big screen adaptation: The Incredible Hulk. The announcement was made today by Michael Helfant, President and COO, Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige, President of Production for Marvel Studios.

Directed by top rising star Louis Leterrier (Transporter 2, Unleashed), The Incredible Hulk will return to the roots of the long-running comic series, combining a well-developed storyline with incredible action and fun. Zak Penn, who previously collaborated with Marvel on X2 and this summer's smash hit X-Men: The Last Stand, is writing the script. The project is being produced by Avi Arad, Kevin Feige and Gale Anne Hurd and will be executive produced by Michael Helfant, David Womark, and Ari Arad. Marvel Studios is currently casting the project.

The Incredible Hulk is being independently produced by Marvel Studios through its $525 million, non-recourse film finance facility and will be distributed domestically and in several international territories by Universal Pictures.

Feige commented, "The Incredible Hulk will be the type of fun, high-octane event film people have come to expect from Marvel. We could not be more excited about this project and our summer 2008 prospects now that we have both our green goliath and our highly-anticipated Iron Man set for release."

Helfant added, "We're very happy that Universal is distributing The Incredible Hulk. We have a history together and this is a great opportunity for both Marvel and Universal to take the Hulk film franchise to another level."

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Next 'Hulk' Adds Bulk To '08 Sked

The following was originally posted on Variety.com:

Marvel makes plans for super summer

Marvel is turning the summer of 2008 into the season of the superhero, setting June 27 as the release date for its new Hulk pic.

Release of "The Incredible Hulk" will be the second in a two-month span for the nascent studio, which plans to open the Jon Favreau-helmed "Iron Man" on May 2. Both movies go into production next year.

Even as Marvel was touting its film releases, its traditional publishing division was driving revenue.

Publishing sales growth of 20% helped to drive up overall sales for the third quarter by about 13% to $92.2 million.

Despite a 44% drop in net income to $13.2 million, the company satisfied Wall Street with solid projections for the coming year, and investors responded by sending up its stock price by 6%.

"Hulk," whose rights reverted to Marvel last winter, is being pushed out relatively quickly, observers said, in part to reassure Wall Street that the film division is running smoothly in the wake of Avi Arad's surprise departure in June.

If they remain in place, the timing of the two releases could be an earnings boon for the company, whose second quarter ends in June. "Iron Man" coin and opening-weekend B.O. from "Hulk" would be booked in the second quarter, while the remainder of "Hulk" money would spill into the third quarter.

Marvel insiders pointed out that the company has had properties open in a compressed time frame before, including the release of "X Men 2" in May 2003 and "Hulk" a month later.

Nearly two years out, summer 2008 is already shaping up to be a busy one for franchises -- Warner Bros.' next "Batman" installment, "The Dark Knight," is a likely summer release; Disney's next "Narnia" pic is set to open in May; and Paramount's "Indiana Jones 4" and Universal's "Hellboy 2" are both possible releases during the season.

Marvel is taking pains to distance its Hulk pic from Ang Lee's 2003 movie. Marvel licensed the rights to U for that film, which earned $132 million at the U.S. box office but which was considered a disappointment by some.

Company resists calling the new project a sequel and noted in a press release, "You will like (the Hulk) when he's angry," a not-so-subtle reference to fans' criticism that the character in the earlier pic was too ponderous.

Company has brought on genre director Louis Leterrier ("Unleashed") to ensure a more commercial feel.

Arad, Kevin Feige and Gale Anne Hurd are aboard to produce; Zak Penn ("X-Men: The Last Stand") will pen the screenplay.

Marvel predicts sales will grow to between $375 million and $435 million in 2007; company generated sales of $391 million in 2005.

Marvel also could see a bump in the year from licensing related to Sony's release of "Spider-Man 3" in May and other pics as it releases products tied to its new deal with Hasbro.

"Hulk" announcement wasn't the only one aimed at exciting investors Monday. Company also disclosed it would pact with Sega for an "Iron Man" vidgame. Sega will publish the game day-and-date with the pic's release and also has secured rights to make future games based on the superhero.

Interactive rights for "Iron Man" had been held by Activision, which has an overall licensing deal with Marvel. But Activision gave back the rights to "Iron Man" earlier this year when the two companies renegotiated their agreement.

Sega is in negotiations to license a second Marvel property, possibly the Hulk.

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November 26, 2006

Zak Pen's ‘Incredible Hulk’ Movie

The following was originally posted on WizardUniverse.com:

Wizard caught up with Zak Penn, the screenwriter for “The Incredible Hulk” for the scoop on where he stands on the sequel to the Ang Lee-directed 2003 movie. Penn, who is profiled in the Wizard 2007 Movie Spectacular that comes out Dec. 6, shared his insight on where the next “Hulk” movie is, which is slated to be directed by Louis Letterier (“The Transporter 2”).

Penn submitted a draft for the original “Hulk” movie, which was rejected, but that script grabbed the attention of the current filmmakers. His original pitch, along with his success writing “X2: X-Men United” and “X-Men: The Last Stand,” earned him the gig.

“My draft of the first ‘Hulk’ opened with him already having transformed into the Hulk,” explained Penn. “It opened with him at a roadside bar with these guys picking on him and him saying, ‘Don’t make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry,’ and then transforming, and then you flash back to reveal how it all happened.

“Part of the way that this ‘Hulk’ came about is that they went back and read my draft. They went back through all of the stuff that they had commissioned and said, ‘This is more of the tone that we wanted.’ So it doesn’t really require us ignoring the first movie, but that said, there’s a lot of stuff in the first movie that I’m not even going to touch on.”

To read more about Penn’s “Hulk” movie and his plans for an “Avengers” film, pick up the Wizard 2007 Movie Spectacular on Dec. 6, featuring the full scoop on over 120 movies.

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