Marvel Studios to Produce Hulk 2, Universal to Distribute
The following was originally posted on AICN.com:
Hey folks, Harry here... Just got off the phone with Avi Arad - literally right after his assistant said, "I've got Avi Arad for you," and Avi said, "Hello," I said - "Avi, you're not doing a direct to video HULK sequel are you?" And we started laughing. I've no doubt that Latauro heard what he heard, but man... If you know Avi Arad - he 100% loves THE HULK. He's incredibly proud of the film, the performances and the direction. And frankly - this is one of the ones where Avi and I see eye to eye - which isn't a given by any means. We still verbally spar about that terrible FANTASTIC FOUR movie - ahem. BUT - I love THE HULK.
So - what is happening with HULK? Well, MARVEL is going to make the second one themselves with Universal distributing it... so this will be a Marvel production outside of the Paramount distribution deal that they set up last year. Right now, Avi is talking to various directors and writers and he intends to make a direct sequel... not a reboot. He feels that the HULK was a bit too big, so the big green behemoth will be not so Joseph Young of Africa. He's very excited, as always, about the Emerald Ass-Kicker, and at this point there is NO recasting in place or planned. So - there ya go. He also promises that we're going to have a helluva story that he'll be sending me in a couple of hours for SPIDER-MAN so stay tuned TRUE BELIEVERS!
If you are confused about the direct to video bit, that is in response to the rumor that ContactMusic posted on Tuesday here. I'm glad that Avi responded to this rumor before it had a chance to spread. I never posted that rumor as news here because I knew it to be false, as I reported on the message boards here.
Although Avi has been saying that the Hulk 2 would happen since The Hulk movie was released, this is the first real news on the subject. I'd always been hesitant to post "news" on Hulk 2, because there really hasn't been anything substantive on the subject.
However, we now know that Universal will be acting only as the distributor of the film, similar to Paramount's role in the recent equity deal that Marvel Studios secured (read that press release here). Under that deal, Marvel will finance the films and Paramount will collect a fee for distributing the film.
Assuming that this is the model that Universal and Marvel will follow for Hulk 2, Universal will act only as the distributor of the film and will not have any financial risk associated with the picture. This means that the fate of Hulk 2 is not up to the Studio execs at Universal, but up to Marvel themselves. This is both good and bad. Good in that it gives Marvel back control of the Hulk franchise and the freedom to make the film that they want when they want. Bad in that Marvel must finance the film themselves with Universal's deep pockets.
In my opinion, the Hulk 2 should be big effects laden film, and that would necessitate a big budget. Not a huge, over the top budget, but at least something in the $100 to $150 range in order to make a convincing on screen Hulk (and lets hope Abomination as well). This type of cash is not easy to secure, so Avi will have to work here in order to get a great script that will convince investors that a sequel is a worthwhile endeavor.
Still, I feel that this is a great news, considering the limbo that the Hulk has been languishing in while at Universal. Lets hope we can get some more real updates on the status of Hulk 2 in the near future. So summarize:
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