This past Saturday I went to go see Forgetting Sarah Marhsall with a friend, and the theater was completely sold out. As we packed ourselves amongst the sardines and the previews started, a strange murmur rolled across the crowd when The Incredible Hulk trailer unspooled. A murmur of “Huh?!” and “What the?!” and one woman saying “Hey, didn’t this movie come out already?” It’s a reaction I’ve heard a few times from people who aren’t movie geeks (like me) when discussing the big upcoming summer flicks.
The problem is, it’s only been five years since the Ang Lee-directed, Eric Bana starring Hulk came out, and it’s still fairly fresh in people’s minds. You’d be hard-pressed to erase the previous appearance of the big green guy from the collective minds of audiences. While it was generally perceived to be a flop, and wasn’t loved by critics or audiences, it did gross $245 million dollars worldwide, which isn’t just a drop in the bucket.
This would be like releasing another Batman movie or another Superman flick just a few years after Batman Begins or Superman Returns, starring a new actor in the lead role, and with an entirely different director. Will people go see it, or just wait until it appears on home video? Don’t get me wrong, I love Ed Norton, and I’m extremely interested to see what he’s done with the script, and how Louis Leterrier has interpreted it. I don’t want the Jolly Green Giant to lose the box office battle, but I’m afraid he has an uphill battle to barrel through before he can get there.