In 2003 there was a film called simply Hulk.

Then just five years later there was another Hulk film, apparently a reboot, called The Incredible Hulk.

Why was this second film created so soon after the first? Wouldn't it have made more (financial) sense to pick a new Marvel character?

  • 3
    No. The Hulk is a consistently popular property and one, that when done well has always resulted in a profit. Picking something else means taking a step into the unknown.
    – Valorum
    Mar 24, 2016 at 16:25
  • 1
    “Wouldn't it have made more (financial) sense to pick a new Marvel character?” But which one? The rights to Marvel’s characters are somewhat scattered. I don’t think there’s one with as high a profile as the Hulk, and if there’s one rule in cinema, it’s that people go and see stuff that they’ve heard about. Plus the Hulk was an original member of The Avengers in the comics. Mar 24, 2016 at 23:26
  • VTC as this seems to be more of a business-based question than a scifi one.
    – Moogle
    Apr 1, 2016 at 14:20
  • 1
    @Moogle: please show me which rule this question is violating. Apr 1, 2016 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


The Incredible Hulk wasn't an origin film. They did a flashback to his origins in the opening credits, and then moved to him being established as The Hulk and being hunted by General Ross.

It was referred to as a "reimagining", a sort of hybrid of a sequel and reboot. The key here is sequel, as it is supposed to take place after the events of Hulk's origins.

This article from around release time mentions this concept, as did many others in that day.

Not a sequel, no no. Not a remake either. Not even what’s recently been coined a reimagining. They're calling The Incredible Hulk a reboot. After Ang Lee’s brave, interesting but deeply flawed 2003 Hulk failed to engage either audiences or box office tills, the future of the big green smashing machine seemed in serious jeopardy. But Marvel and Universal are back for a second crack with a new director and an all new cast, and hopes are high.

As this quote touches on, HULK was a critical failure, yet the character is still very popular and they hoped to make more money from him. The Incredible Hulk was also part of Marvel's "Phase One" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, establishing the character for his role in The Avengers. It's also important to note that, as far as movies go, Hulk is Universal's property, and Marvel Studios was not involved with the first film.

Reboots are not necessarily uncommon in short timespans these days. Of note is Spider-man, which saw The Amazing Spider-man just 5 years after Spider-man 3. And Spider-man's character is being rebooted again after only two years, making an appearance in Captain America: Civil War, and then in a new film sometime in the future.

As far as financials go, Hulk has made $245 million worldwide, on a $137 million budget. That's not the best, but it's not the worst. The Incredible Hulk has actually done about the same, at $263 million on $150 million budget. But these aren't the $500 million, $1 billion blockbusters we're seeing now. This is likely why they originally weren't planning on another. However, with the popularity of Ruffalo's Hulk, they may now be considering the idea.

  • Always worth pointing out that several of the same crew worked on both Hulk films. Doing a quick reboot allows you to use a lot of the same expertise gained from the earlier film.
    – Valorum
    Mar 24, 2016 at 16:45
  • The Incredible Hulk seemed like it kept the first 80% or so of Hulk (which was pretty good), and then ignored the dumb crap at the end.
    – DCShannon
    Mar 24, 2016 at 18:06
  • @DCShannon I agree. I presume they axed the whole dad thing (and obviously the size change thing).
    – user31178
    Mar 24, 2016 at 18:07

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