The Avengers is estimated to be the biggest opening weekend in movie history, pulling in a whopping $205 million, according to Marvel/Walt Disney Studios, the makers of the film.
The film stars superheroes who themselves have been the subjects of recent movies.
There is Robert Downey Jr., who played Iron Man in 2008 and the sequel in 2010. Chris Hemsworth, who took up the hammer in 2011, plays Thor. Chris Evans, who played Captain America in the 2011 film, was also invited back for The Avengers.
However, not reprising his 2008 role as The Incredible Hulk is Edward Norton, the grandson of Columbia’s founder James Rouse and a native of Columbia. The role of Bruce Banner/ The Hulk is played by Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers.
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In 2010, Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige addressed the Norton issue as casting for the Avengers was underway:
“We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner [The Hulk] in the Avengers. Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members. The Avengers demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble…”
About a week after Feige’s statement, Norton responded on his Facebook page.
“It seems it won’t work out for me to continue playing Bruce Banner for Marvel in ‘The Avengers,’” wrote Norton. “I sincerely hoped it could happen and be great for everyone, but it hasn’t turned out as we all hoped. I know this disappointing to many people and that makes me sad.”
Norton’s agent Brian Swardstrom called Feige's explanation "offensive."
“This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light," wrote Swardstrom
"Edward said he was enthusiastic at the prospect of being a part of the ensemble cast… and both sides started negotiating good faith," Swardstrom said.
Swardstrom wrote the deal fell apart in what “seemed to us to be a financial decision. ... Mr. Norton’s talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel’s fans.”
Compared to the other recent films by actors in the Avengers, Norton’s Hulk drew the least in gross revenue, according to IMDB statistics.