Two weeks ago we looked at an interview with Mark Ruffalo with the question, “might Hulk go solo again?” In it the actor boiled things down to his own personal enthusiasm for doing more, and that any fleeting conversations aside, he didn’t expect to hear much for a while with everything else Marvel’s up to. That said, he’s recently dropped that he too signed one of Marvel’s monstrous actor contracts that’s sealed him up for six total film. Since it would take about 30 years for Marvel to make that many Avengers films, surely they see some possibilities for Hulk having another go?
Cut to Feige responding to all of the Avengers hype and enthusiasm for the big green guy by stating that changing the character’s reputation was the goal, not priming him for a new franchise.
“Well, no. This was the other shot. Right? I mean, this was the third appearance of Hulk and everything that we had and were going for, we put in to Hulk’s appearance in “Avengers.” So, I love that people are saying that and are feeling that way about Hulk, but mission accomplished at this point. And the way we go forward, we’ll see. But it was a long road to get to this point. … But we’ll be very careful about it and deliberate — as we were in how we wanted to bring him back in “Avengers.”
But despite that pretty cut and dry answer, we all know if there’s any force Feige, Disney, and Marvel will ultimately answer to, it’s the almighty force of MARKETING. It is the conglomerate God, and it laughs at the best laid plans of mortal producers.
This is relevant because the president of consumer products, Paul Gitter, has just recently revealed to Forbes that the run up to The Avengers has already buried the needle on Hulk sales. The green guy has apparently become quit the mover of units, and thus his priority in Marvelsphere goes up quite quickly. And as anyone who has seen The Avengers will tell you, that’s not likely to subside as The Hulk shines in the film. I’d even go so far as to say he owns many of the film’s most memorable gags, and there are many. Which leads Gitter to say some very positive things about Dr. Banner.
“His sales are up in a major way. We repositioned him from where he was always misunderstood to now depicting him in a more heroic and aspirational manner,” says Gitter. If Hulk’s successful turnaround continues, Gitter says Marvel “will spin him off to a stand-alone program next year,” supported by a big budget franchise movie in 2015. The entertainment studio is also exploring ways to promote Hulk as a “corporate icon,” similar to MetLife’s usage of Peanuts’ Snoopy, where The Hulk’s image conveys a message about channeling strength to overcome workplace challenges.
Of course one thing doesn’t necessarily contradict the other, as Feige is mostly saying that increased hype does not equal a plan-upending immediate greenlight on a new Hulk film, and the marketer is simply saying the character will get an increased focus for the time being. A film hitting in 2015 could start as late as third or fourth quarter of next year- plenty of time for Marvel to smash up their roadmap a little bit.
Expect a lot of this kind of talk, as The Avengers is certainly living up to its financial promise and doing big things for its team even before it starts tearing into the box office.