It would appear that the second time may not be the charm for Marvel and The Hulk. The reboot of the franchise following Ang Lee's expensive 2002 misfire looks to be in trouble, with creative infighting and very little positive buzz.
Considering that the film opens only two months from now on June 13, there has been almost no publicity, except for a trailer to the film... it's a marketing campaign that makes Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull's studio endorsed publicity look like an all out marketing blitz.
So what is going on with The Incredible Hulk?
Yeah... keep reading.
When Marvel realized that they didn't like the Hulk when he was "Ang Lee" (geddit???) they decided that they needed to make the cultural icon more action oriented and hired Louis Leterrier to direct the reboot. With a new director came a new actor, and when they nabbed Edward Norton for the part everything looked rosy. However, the problem with Norton is that "you won't like him when he's angry."
Fans were over the moon when they heard that Norton was rewriting the script and it seemed that this new version of the Hulk would be incredible. Filming went without a hitch and then the filmmakers went into the editing bay, and Norton went "American History X" on them.
What is American History X?
Simple, it's an Edward Norton film released in 1998 that Norton re-edited, causing director Tony Kaye to try and remove his name from the film, and replace it with Humpty Dumpty. No, I'm not making this up... sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. That film turned out to be a critical success but did terrible at the box office (no doubt due to the dark subject matter).
David Maisel, chairman of Marvel Studios says that:
“When you get to this point in the process, there are always lots of passionate discussions. Edward is very passionate. He is as passionate about the Hulk as we are.”
Representatives for Norton have refused to comment, but apparently if Norton doesn't get his way he won't publicize the film. We know that Norton has a temper, and he's willing to talk about it in public - just remember back to The Italian Job, when Paramount forced Norton to star in the film to meet a contract obligation,
There seems to be a major (and quite ironic) fear that The Incredible Hulk will be dwarfed by this summers other superhero movies, caught between The Dark Knight and Iron Man and then throw in Hancock starring box office powerhouse Will Smith to boot. Not to mention a certain Dr. Jones.
Universal Pictures' head of marketing Adam Fogelson has stated that the film's trailer has generated more streams online than any previous trailer for a Universal Picture and that the film has a huge amount of licensing attached to it. Have you seen any of it yet? Neither have I.
According to a source at the studio, the reason for the lack of more promotion is that visual effects sequences are still being worked on, so that means that we may start seeing more of a push in the coming weeks.
To help promote The Incredible Hulk Marvel has lined up Robert Downey Jr for an Iron Man cameo (so we know that Vic will be going to see it) but will audiences return to the character following the faliure of Ang Lee's version? Eric Bana's Bruce Banner left audiences cold and it's not just the lead actor and director that have changed.
In this new version of the Hulk, the CGI character speaks - unlike in Ang Lee's film. Also the Hulk will stay at 9 feet tall, and not change size depending on his mood - what, the Hulk is having a fat day!
Will the movie be a success? Who knows. If it isn't then I wouldn't bet against Marvel having another stab at rebooting - just look at The Punisher.
I'm sure we will be hearing more about the film, just as soon as they know what exactly they have to market!
What do you think?
Sources: New York Times , The Incredible Hulk