The Incredible Hulk is a 2008 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character the Hulk, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Universal Pictures. It is the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Louis Leterrier, with a screenplay by Zak Penn. It stars Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell, and William Hurt. In The Incredible Hulk, a new backstory is established where Bruce Banner becomes the Hulk as an unwitting pawn in a military scheme to reinvigorate the supersoldier program through gamma radiation. On the run, he attempts to cure himself of the Hulk before he is captured by General Thaddeus Ross, but his worst fears are realized when power-hungry soldier Emil Blonsky becomes a similar, but more bestial creature.
After the mixed reception to the 2003 film Hulk, Marvel Studios reacquired the rights to the character. Leterrier, who had expressed interest in directing Iron Man, was brought onboard and Penn began work on a loose sequel that would be much closer to the comics and the 1978 television series of the same name. In April 2007, Norton was hired to portray Banner and to rewrite Penn's screenplay in order to distance itself from the 2003 film and establish its own identity, although he would go uncredited for his writing. Filming mostly took place in Toronto, Ontario, from July to November 2007. Over 700 visual effects shots were created in post-production using a combination of motion capture and computer-generated imagery to complete the film.
The Incredible Hulk premiered on June 8, 2008 at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California and was released in theaters on June 13, 2008, receiving generally favorable reviews by critics upon release. Critical praise went to the improved visuals, action sequences, and the portrayal of the title character. The film was number one at the box office, grossing over $263 million worldwide. Norton was set to reprise the role of Banner in The Avengers and any other MCU installment featuring the character, but he was ultimately replaced by Mark Ruffalo, who has signed on to portray the character in all potential sequels.