Marvel Studios has every right to call their re-booted version of Incredible Hulk (Universal) a success. Of course, it fell well shy of its first self-financed and self-produced film Iron Man (Paramount), which will pass $300M domestic this week, but opening with an estimated $54.53M is a good solid start. In baseball terms, if Iron Man is a home run, then Incredible Hulk is a good solid double off the wall.
If that number holds when actuals are released, then the new version of Incredible Hulk will be the all-time 11th-best opening for a comic adaptation, and the all-time fifth-best for a non-sequel.
ALL-TIME TOP 20 OPENINGS FOR COMIC BOOK ADAPTATIONS
1. Spider-Man 3: $151.11M
2. Spider-Man: $114.84M
3. X-Men: The Last Stand: $102.75M
4. Iron Man: $98.61M
5. Spider-Man 2: $88.15M
6. X2: X-Men United: $85.55M
7. 300: $70.88M
8. Hulk (2003): $62.12M
9. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: $60.23M
10. Fantastic Four: $56.06M
11. Incredible Hulk: $54.53M (estimate)
12. X-Men: $54.47M
13. Batman Forever: $52.78M
14. Superman Returns: $52.53M
15. Men in Black II: $52.14M
16. Men in Black: $51.06M
17. Batman Begins: $48.74M
18. Batman Returns: $45.68M
19. Ghost Rider: $45.38M
20. Batman & Robin: $42.87M
One of the non-sequels that opened better was Ang Lee’s ill-fated 2003 version of Hulk, which opened with $62.12M and went on to just $132.17M domestic. That is a meager 2.12 multiple, meaning that you would multiply the movie’s opening weekend by 2.12 to reach the total domestic gross. That low multiple demonstrates that fans did not like the brooding Eric Bana version of Bruce Banner’s story.
I checked out Incredible Hulk this weekend, and it is a great, big fun movie. Louis Leterrier (Transporters) has focused on action instead of inner psychology, and the audience I saw the movie with ate it up. My studio sources tell me that CinemaScore grades are excellent for the new Hulk .
In a quick survey of industry connections this morning, guesses at Incredible Hulk’s final domestic total range from $135M to $160M. My hunch is that Incredible Hulk will not have as friendly a multiple as the original Spider-Man’s 3.5 or even Iron Man, which is at a 3 multiple so far. I think that 2.75, the multiple derived for the original Fantastic Four, is probably safe. I am projecting the new Incredible Hulk to finish at $145M-$155M domestic.