Marvel’s Hulk (2003) will be removed from Hulu within the next month as Disney’s purge of streaming content continues. As ITM reports, the early Marvel movie is one of several Disney-owned titles announced to be exiting Hulu in the coming weeks. In addition to Shanghai Noon (2000), the streamer is also dropping classics like Die Hard (1988), and Alien (1979).
2003’s Hulk will leave Hulu at the end of September.
It might be easy to forget, though, that Disney didn’t originally own Hulk, which was released in 2003, because the media giant did not purchase Marvel Studios until 2009. Still, it wasn’t until 2012’s The Avengers that Disney distributed an MCU film. Even still, Ang Lee’s ambitious take on the not-so-jolly green giant is now a Disney property, meaning it is joining the ranks of other releases—like the Willow series—that are being sacrificed in favor of tax write-offs to help tighten the company’s belt.
Marvel Studios as we know it was not really a thing when Hulk was released; it came from Universal Studios and Marvel Enterprises. But it was influential on the films that would follow, particularly by pioneering an all-CGI Hulk. The character had been done in animation in television, but live-action iterations had always featured an on-screen actor in the role.
While Hulk was one of the year’s highest-grossing films, it was a disappointment for the studio and seemed to set Marvel films back. But it is quite an interesting take on the character and the visual style is indeed unique.
That actor, Lou Ferrigno, played the Hulk in the ’70s and ’80s TV series The Incredible Hulk and makes a cameo in Hulk, alongside Marvel great Stan Lee. That moment helped perpetuate Lee’s appearance in every MCU film during his lifetime. It was not his first cameo, however, as he had appeared that same year in Daredevil and had first shown up in an onscreen comic book movie cameo in the 1989 TV movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk.
At the time of its release, Hulk was praised by many critics for Ang Lee’s unique visual style, attempting to replicate the look of frames from a Marvel comic book, though some found this choice distracting. The CGI Hulk was a step forward in the use of fully-realized, realistic CGI characters, the first of which had appeared only four years earlier.
Though much of the animation was visually impressive, audiences didn’t connect with the film in the way the studio had hoped, leaving hints of a sequel unfulfilled.
With Hulk‘s exit, only two Marvel films remain on Hulu, both featuring the character Frank Castle—The Punisher from 2004 and 2008’s Punisher: War Zone.
While Hulk was one of the year’s highest-grossing films, it was a disappointment for the studio and seemed to set Marvel films back. But it is quite an interesting take on the character and the visual style is indeed unique. Eric Bana plays Bruce Banner alongside Jennifer Connelly as Banner’s girlfriend Betty Ross, daughter to General Everett Ross (Sam Elliot).
The story focuses on Banner on the run from General Ross’ attacks against the Hulk while also trying to reconcile his complicated relationship with his father, played by Nick Nolte.
With Hulk‘s exit, only two Marvel films remain on Hulu, both featuring the character Frank Castle—The Punisher from 2004 and 2008’s Punisher: War Zone. As of now, Hulk is still streaming on Hulu, so you might want to catch it while you can.
The film received mixed reviews from critics, who enjoyed the cast’s performances and the artistic risks taken by Lee, but was hated by audiences. It wound up being a box office flop despite being one of the year’s highest-grossing movies.