Will You Like Marvel When It's Angry?

Marvel Entertainment's (NYSE: MVL  ) angry green giant is best known for a single line -- "Hulk will smash!" Of course, in the comics, the big guy isn't referring to Hollywood or the box office. But that's exactly what Marvel wants him to do.

Today, Marvel Studios chiefs Michael Helfant and Kevin Fiege told reporters that a new Hulk film is planned and that action film veteran Louis Leterrier will direct it. Leterrier has previously directed Transporter 2 and Unleashed. Neither did all that well at the box office:

Film

Production Budget

Domestic Gross

Global Gross

Transporter 2

$32.0 mil

$43.1 mil

$85.0 mil

Unleashed

$45.0 mil

$24.5 mil

$50.1 mil

Source: Box Office Mojo

Nevertheless, the Hulk sequel -- titled The Incredible Hulk -- can and should do much better. What held back the last film was its intense character study, which, while interesting to some, left many audiences wondering where the action was. For his part, producer Avi Arad, who will co-produce The Incredible Hulk with Helfant, has publicly advocated for a return to the Hulk of the comics, he of the "Hulk will smash!" one-liners.

Expect Marvel to make good on Arad's wishes. Screenwriter Zak Penn is on board for the sequel. He collaborated on this summer's X-Men: The Last Stand, a popcorn movie if there ever was one.

Marvel expects to fund the new Hulk film through its $525 million credit facility. That makes sense, but with budgets soaring, and with the expected complexity of producing both films, it's a good bet that Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk together will cost at least $200 million and maybe as much as $300 million. Either way, it's likely that Marvel is going to spend roughly half of its credit line to produce its first two films.

Will you like Marvel when it's angry? You'd better, for only a Hulk-sized smash at the box office will bring in the green that the company promised when it decided to become an independent studio.

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Fool contributorTim Beyersmost enjoyed the Hulk when Peter David was writing the comic series in the '90s. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out which stocks he owns by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.


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