Hulk Fists Full of Dollars: Raking In The Green At The Box Office

Last weekend, the Edward Norton-powered raked in the money with domestic gross box office receipts estimated at just over $54 million from a $150 million production budget, according to Box Office Mojo. This includes raking in $21 million on Friday.

However, it should be noted that the 2003 Ang Lee directed "Hulk" enjoyed a $62 million opening weekend, but negative word-of-mouth ended up slowing down that project's income considerably. Based on the estimates, "The Incredible Hulk" is on par with other Marvel-based movies "The X-Men" in 2000 ($54.5 million) and "Fantastic Four" in 2005 ($56.06 million). Will this have the staying power of "Iron Man," which maintained box office hegemony for weeks after its release?

"Incredible Hulk" faced some surprisingly stiff competition from M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening," starring Mark Wahlberg. In fact, Variety reported that overseas, "The Happening" handed the big green machine its face. "'The Happening' took $32.1 million at 5,714 playdates in 88 markets, but 'Incredible Hulk' turned in a far stronger per-screen performance, with $31 million at 3,165 in 38 territories, as the superhero pic won head-to-head battles while holding back launches in much of Europe."

Keeping it financial, Marvel's Joe Quesada threw on a suit and tricked a gang of stock brokers into donning Hulk hands when he visited the New York Stock Exchange (also at Marvel.com).

What could this indicate for the future? Director Louis Leterrier let slip to MTV that he could envision Ol' Jade Jaws as the villain for "The Avengers." "I would love to see [the Hulk become the villain that fights the Avengers] because I think the best villains are always the ones whose agenda you understand," Leterrier said. "They're not synthetic to us in a way; they're not these one dimensional bad guys."

This also played out in the alleged public "feud" between Edward Norton and the producers, and then Norton didn't get any screenwriter credit on the final draft. Variety has an analysis of the disputes, real and rumored.

Just for those keeping score, the box office tally for "Iron Man" stands with domestic receipts just a hair under $300 million and almost $250 million in foreign ticket sales on top of that.

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