The MCU Has A Hulk Movie Plan, But Is Mark Ruffalo On Board?
A Wall Street analyst has an idea that could give Marvel Studios back the distribution rights to Hulk and Namor, but will Disney take the advice?
Whether it’s wanted or not, unsolicited advice can wind up being the best advice, and one Wall Street analyst says he knows not only how to finally get Mark Ruffalo his own solo Hulk movie, but to do something similar for Tenoch Huerta’s Namor. Yahoo News reports that Citi analyst Jason Bazine sent a letter to his clients in which he speculates that Disney may already be in the middle of negotiating the return of the distribution rights of both Hulk and Namor. If Bazinet is right, the cost to get those rights back will include losing the streaming service Hulu.
In his letter, Bazinet points out that Disney owns 67 precent of Hulu, while the remaining 33 percent is held by Comcast — the same company that currently holds the distribution rights to Hulk and Namor. As of January 2024, Disney has the option of buying out Comcast’s share, while the latter company can reportedly force Disney to buy them out if they choose. Before either of those scenarios can happen, Bazinet writes, Disney may be looking to sell its Hulu shares to Comcast with the Hulk and Namor distribution rights being part of Comcast’s payment.
Bazinet doesn’t think getting the Hulk and Namor rights are the only reasons Disney would sell Hulu either. The streaming platform is a successful one, which is reportedly subscribed to by 44 percent of American households, but Bazinet believes Disney has grown less interested in “mass market DTC [direct to consumer] offering.”
As it stands now, if Marvel Studios were to release solo movies for Hulk and/or Namor, Comcast would have the right to stream those films on Peacock. Disney would likely have to work out a separate deal to stream them on Disney+.
It would be questionable whether or not the distribution rights to Hulk and Namor would be worth quite so much to Disney. The two live-action Hulk movies to be released so far both underperformed. Mark Ruffalo has received a much warmer reception as Bruce Banner than either Eric Bana or Edward Norton did, but that’s been so far in mostly ensemble affairs like the Avengers films.
There’s also the question of whether or not Mark Ruffalo would want to appear in a solo Hulk movie at this point. If you count his cameos in Iron Man 3 and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, he’s appeared in seven MCU films so far and the Disney+ series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
The aquatic Namor has only appeared in one Marvel feature so far — in last year’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — and that was as an antagonist.
In the meantime, one has to wonder whether or not Disney really wants to throw more resources toward more Marvel superhero blockbusters. Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania proved to be yet one more piece of a disturbing trend — of Marvel movies receiving diminishing returns both from critics and at the box office. Does Disney really want to sell a profitable streaming platform for, in part, two superhero properties now that so-called superhero fatigue may finally be here?