What Now For The Hulk?

Anyone who thought The Incredible Hulk was going to pull in $60-$100 million last weekend were victims of nerdgasming - i.e. thinking a film was going to be huge because you were excited about it and the Internet was talking it up none.stop.

The funny thing I flat-out told people it was going to be like Batman Begins and have a solid (but not record-breaking) start around the $50 million region. And if it does well, it will be via legs and word-of-mouth after the opening weekend. So of course, I was immediately told, "You don't know what you're talking about."

And now after the reboot (a solid film you should check out if you haven't already) opened to $55 million, I'm hearing the exact same people who earlier dismissed my lack of "knowledge" now comparing The Incredible Hulk to... you guessed it... Batman Begins. I hate to say I told ya so...

Anyway, now the discussion has turned to, "What now?" for everyone's favorite angry green giant. And the answer is...iffy. By all accounts, Marvel has already lined up their next 3 years worth of films (including the much-anticipated Iron Man sequel). But Hulk 2 is nowhere to be seen.

Granted in the film-industry, things change fast and often - that's an understatement of course. And the seeds for a Hulk follow-up were definitely planted (i.e. not to be a spoiler involved a guy with a really big head!)

But, there's the question of whether or not the Hulk's "puny human" alter-ego Bruce Banner (specifically actor Edward Norton) will return at all.

I've heard conflicting reports regarding if Norton is signed up for multiple films. Considering his much-reported issues with Marvel over the film and his overall lack of promotion leading up to the release, I can't see him returning on his own free-will. If there isn't a Hulk sequel in our future, the next best option is The Avengers which is currently aiming for a July 2011 release.

But again, that brings Norton's participation into question. Marvel's made it crystal-clear these films are set in the same universe where characters can interact with one another (i.e. the now-infamous Tony Stark cameo ending to Hulk).

So I can't see them getting someone else to play Banner at this point. Not to mention, it would be quiet jarring for audiences to sit through 3 different actors as Bruce Banner/Hulk on the silver screen in less than 10 years.

It's just a big question-mark at the moment, ladies and germs. Of course, how well Hulk holds or bad it falls in its second weekend of release will certainly play a factor in all of this.

What do you guys think?

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