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While browsing the Interwebs this morning I saw a post talking about the low box office performance of the Incredible Hulk.  2008 is certainly the year of comic book movies, and with the initial praise the film received, I had to check out the facts for myself.

Turns out, Incredible Hulk – to date – hasn’t made its production budget estimated at 150 million dollars, bringing in a measly $124,841,395 (Domestic).  To most of us, that amount would seem like the jackpot of a lifetime, but for fledgling Marvel films, this could be the signs of larger troubles down the road.

incredible_hulk_poster_big.jpgEven though it has been in theaters for only four weeks (with typical movie runs estimated at 10 weeks), the Incredible Hulk hasn’t even reached the half way point, which could easily mean the movie will make its budget and more.  But since the green goliath has had to compete for moviegoer affections against films like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ($753 million), Iron Man, Prince Caspian ($138 million), Wall-E ($127 million), and the upcoming Hellboy II, and Dark Knight movies, I’m not sure the film will make the huge profits Iron Man did.  Based on the box office drop (60% the first week, 56% week 2, 48% week 3), the remaining weeks of the summer could net the film another $4 million domestically, which still puts it below the $150 million mark.

While this may sound dire, don’t go selling your Marvel Stock yet (30.77 this morning, down from high of 37 – still beating Disney this morning at 30.08).  What many naysayers are forgetting is that as much as we like to think it, the United States of America is not the end all be all; there are still billions of people world wide that are going to the theaters and bumping up those box office dollars. If you count the international box office take on the film, the Incredible Hulk has raked in $210 million, well over the cost of the film.

The international market is a very different one, and while the world wide gross does get Hulk out of the red – as opposed to the Red Hulk – the movie could bring in much more money than expected in a particular country, much like Jerry Lewis’ god-like status in France.

So don’t count the Hulk out yet.  The film may not be the juggernaut that is its big brother Iron Man (world wide gross at $563 million), it’s quickly closing in on the Ang Lee version ($245 million).  I think the biggest boost the film will see is when it hits DVD.  I believe more people will see the movie on DVD than in theaters simply because of the foul taste Lee’s film left on movie goers.  This means the film could achieve a cult like status on the disc than it ever will on celluloid.

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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12 Comments

  1. Mark I.
    July 8, 2008 at 9:42 am — Reply

    It was just to soon to reboot the franchise and expect people to go in with Ang Lee’s version off their pallets. Between merchandising and DVD it will more than make up for the budget, and I honestly think that the point was to get a fresh, in-universe take on the character out there for the Avengers movie. Between Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Punisher, Daredevil, and the Avengers in general, Marvel’s got a lot of characters on or scheduled to be on the big screen in this era.

    The Hulk storyline gets odd and convoluted if you evolve the character as in the comics and gets boring fast if you make another “Banner on the run from Ross” film. Maybe a one-and-done with an Avengers appearance is the way to go. (I have similar feelings about asolo Wonder Woman movie…it would positively bomb. But if you made her origin appearance the center of the first Justice League movie, now you’re cooking with fi-yah.)

    My biggest gripe is that if the Fantastic 4 ever get integrated into the Marvel movie universe, how ridiculous would Chiklis-in-Thing-suit vs. CGI Hulk look?

  2. hermit
    July 8, 2008 at 10:35 am — Reply

    i think people are just afraid because of the first one. while this new one is a very good movie, it was not a good idea to make it.

    just do captain america and avenger

  3. Gin
    July 8, 2008 at 10:45 am — Reply

    I don’t agree that Ang Lee is as big a factor in this. I have many friends who are pumped about the Hulk simply because Edward Norton is in it.

    There are way too many films that people have been waiting a long time for competing with The Incredible Hulk right now.

    Iron Man did it right- it came in at the beginning of the sumer movie deluge. I question whether it would have worked out as well if it came in in the midst of all these other films. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is wonderful, but spring is terribly dry for exciting films. It probably drew in a bunch of people who just casually wanted to see a fun film in addition to the people who were super excited about it.

    The spring is a pretty dead time for interesting films (I can only think of horror films or terribly-written “comedies” that come out then)- it makes me wonder, would a film series have more success if the first film debuts in the spring and following films make the summer list?

    Gah, but Elektra did that… but was it any good? I really disliked Daredevil so I didn’t even bother.

    @ Mark I.
    “I have similar feelings about a solo Wonder Woman movie…it would positively bomb. But if you made her origin appearance the center of the first Justice League movie, now you’re cooking with fi-yah.”

    Very, very good point! I whole-heartedly agree with this statement.

  4. Gin
    July 8, 2008 at 10:50 am — Reply

    I should edit my statement- when I say “spring” I actually mean Jan-May… that time where the snow is slushy and the sky is all boring and I want to see a movie but nothing interests me. Blaaaaah.

  5. Josh P.
    July 8, 2008 at 11:57 am — Reply

    It’s funny how when releasing a film completely affects its domestic box office pull.

    Had Incredible Hulk been released in the Fall or earlier in the Spring it would’nt have anything to compete with. Look at Ghost Rider. Quality aside, it made a killing in the domestic box office. Why? Because it was released in the Winter/Spring. Same thing with 300.

    If you try to compete with all the other blockbusters released weekly in June-August, you’re not going to make as much money. Only people like me are going to go to the movies every week and see something new. I would guess that the average movie goer sees less than one movie a month.

  6. Morpheus11
    July 8, 2008 at 12:07 pm — Reply

    Since it looks like all the people that have commented have seen the new Hulk movie I will be the person that explains why I haven’t seen the new movie. It is the same reason I didn’t see Ang Lee’s vesion until it was out on a TV movie channel and it was on at 2 am and I was trying to go to sleep.

    Hulk’s character is a complicated character for anyone that hasn’t followed the comic books and even for some people that have. He isn’t the hero that everyone can get behind, he isn’t a person that people can relate to, and the Hulk isn’t the “brightest crayon in the box”.

    I am not saying that the new Hulk movie isn’t good. I am just saying that the following for the Hulk is smaller than most other comic book characters.

    @Gin, I am not sure if this movie would have come out between Jan-May if it would have made that much difference. It still wouldn’t have made the money that Iron-man, Spider-man, or X-men made.

    IMHO, Marvel made this movie b/c it was easier (safer) to remake Hulk than to come up with something all new. And the hype from the movie will help the studio in the long run.

  7. Mark I.
    July 8, 2008 at 1:30 pm — Reply

    On an unrelated note, JJ Abrams is pissed because his new Star Trek movie got pushed to summer 09. He feels it would have cleaned house in the original Christmas 08 slot but Paramount doesn’t have a summer blockbuster, so they moved it where he’s afraid it will get lost in the schlock shuffle.

  8. Gin
    July 8, 2008 at 1:34 pm — Reply

    @Morpheus

    I too am waiting for video! ;) Financially and time-wise I can’t afford to see that and all the other films I want to see this summer- but if it came out in those boring winter months I know I would have gone to the theater then.

    The idea I was attempting to suggest was that casual movie-going audiences are less inclined to take a chance on something when there are fewer choices. If it’s enjoyable (as Iron Man certainly was), word spreads to audiences that probably weren’t planning on seeing it before.

  9. July 8, 2008 at 5:45 pm — Reply

    One thing that most people don’t realize though, is that often, in order to fund a movie, production companies will sell the rights to the distribution in foreign companies. In order to fund Golden Compass, New Line sold all the rights to distribute the film outside of the States, which is also selling the right to make a profit from foreign film sales. Essentially they were banking that the movie would do well domestically. Unfortunately for them, it did horribly domestically and fantastically in the foreign market. They saw little or nothing from that foreign success, and therefore the movie is a complete flaw despite on the surface making back its money.

    Let me be clear: I don’t know what distribution rights if any were sold on Incredible Hulk, but be careful about blindly adding in the foreign box office when you are trying to add to the box office value to the studio.

  10. July 9, 2008 at 12:16 am — Reply

    Incredible Hulk s not a flop per se (Speed Racer is). International Box Office will be ok, the movie is not out in France (Jerry Lewis is a 1960 joke, I’m sure my Granpa knew who he was, I never saw him on TV or in the paper) and Japan yet. Dont expect more than 10 millions in France, Hulk is not that popular over here.

  11. Russell
    July 9, 2008 at 7:56 pm — Reply

    I disagree with the often made statement (I think Roger Ebert made it in a review) that the Hulk isn’t as popular or as marketable as other Marvel characters. I strongly believe that up until the X-Men movie (or possibly even the Spiderman movie) the Hulk TV show was Marvel’s best media success. Not only was it on one of the big three channels, I think it ran for about 5 years. That’s probably the most succesful super hero TV show ever (Smallvile might have run for longer, but I don’t believe it is anywhere near as popular).

    I think one thing that hurt the Hulk is that critics love Ang Lee and I think kind of resented his movie getting a seemingly reebooted treatment. I think the resentment some what hurt the reviews, thus leading to people not seeing the movie. I also think Iron Man’s success kind of hurt the Hulk in the review department. I think critics (who are movie people) were wary of giving great reviews to two back to back released super hero movies presented in a very comic bookish shared universe. I think the shared universe thing will play out well in the long run, but I think it will get some critic snobbery in the meantime.

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