You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

U has ‘Hulk’ take a seat

Budget forces hiatus of comic book adaptation

Forget kryptonite, gamma ray-ed mutants and other sinister elements, the key to stopping superheroes is a big budget. In the latest example of a budget felling a comic book project, Universal Pictures has halted “Hulk,” its bigscreen adaptation of the Marvel Comics series.

Faced with a $100 million budget, a first-time director and production looming just over a month away, last week Universal put a stop to the film, which is written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh and produced by Gale Anne Hurd.

A studio spokesman said Universal had not given up on the project, “but we’ve just put it on the back-burner for awhile.” Universal is understood already to have spent $20 million on development, computer special effects and prosthetics work.

Hensleigh — who has shown his acumen for scripting big-budget actioners with “The Rock” and “Armageddon” — still is eyeing the pic as his directorial debut; and is at work re-writing and restructuring the script in order to bring the cost down.

While the film’s title role — that of mild-mannered Dr. Bruce Banner and his mutated alter ego — had not yet been cast, actors Gregory Sporleder and Lynn Red Williams were cast last fall as two key villains.

Though they attract high-profile producers, directors and talent, studios have had problems bringing comic book properties to the bigscreen. This has been a factor behind such hot Marvel properties as Fox’s “Fantastic Four” and “X-Men,” whose inherent CGI demands and subsequent costs have slowed their way to production. In fact, “Fantastic Four” at one time was to be helmed by Chris Columbus (and produced by his 1492 Prods.), but Columbus called it to a halt more than a year ago because the script he wrote with Mike France looked to cost $165 million. Columbus now is attached to produce and Pete Segal is attached to direct the film.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Hustlers Box Office

    Box Office: Why 'Hustlers' Soared While 'The Goldfinch' Flopped

    Though STX’s “Hustlers” and Warner Bros.’ “The Goldfinch” couldn’t be more different in terms of genre or style, the two new releases prove the divergent paths that mid-budget movies can take at the box office. Both films arrived last weekend in an environment that has been increasingly hostile to anything that’s not of the superhero [...]

  • The Irishman

    Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' Set for Centerpiece Screening at Rome Festival

    Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” will be among highlights of the upcoming Rome Film Festival, following its European launch as the closing film at the BFI London Film Festival. As with the Oct. 13 London premiere, key cast members of the hotly anticipated Netflix film are expected to attend the screening in Rome, as is Scorsese. [...]

  • 'Cheer Up, Mr. Lee' to be

    Korean Comedy 'Cheer Up, Mr. Lee' to be Remade in French

    Currently on-release South Korean comedy drama, “Cheer Up, Mr. Lee” is to be remade in French. “Mr. Lee” is the story of a mentally-challenged man who learns that he has a sick daughter, and embarks on a voyage of discovery with his new family member. A remake deal was struck between Yong Film, part of [...]

  • The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos

    Korea: 'The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos’ Rules Chuseok Holiday Box Office

    Local films dominated cinemagoing in South Korea over the 4-day Chuseok holiday weekend, traditionally one of the year’s busiest periods. The winner was “The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos.” Opening on Wednesday, the CJ Entertainment release earned $20.2 million from 1.97 million admissions over five days. A film adaptation of CJ E&M’s 2014 hit TV [...]

  • Disco

    New Europe Sells Toronto and San Sebastian Film 'Disco' to Several Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jan Naszewski’s New Europe Film Sales has signed several distribution deals on “Disco,” which had its world premiere in Toronto Film Festival’s Discovery section and makes its European premiere in San Sebastian’s New Directors competition. The film has been picked up by Palace for Australia and New Zealand, Artcam for Czech Republic and Slovakia, Kino [...]

  • "Jade Dynasty" in front at the

    China Box Office: 'Jade Dynasty' in Front Ahead of Mixed Competition

    With “Jade Dynasty” out front, Chinese action and Asian animation films led the way at the China box office over the past weekend, while the few American titles in play have failed to attract many moviegoers. Chinese action fantasy “Jade Dynasty” led the weekend box office in its debut with $38.1 million, figures from consultancy [...]

  • The Painted Bird

    Venice Competition Film 'The Painted Bird' Is Czech Entry in Oscar Race

    Václav Marhoul’s “The Painted Bird,” which world premiered at the Venice Film Festival in the main competition and also played at the Toronto Film Festival in Special Presentations, has been selected as the Czech Republic’s entry for the 92nd Academy Awards in the international feature film category. The pic follows the journey of an unnamed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content