Sony sets date for Spider-Man 4 and Marvel delays Thor and The Avengers, but signs The Wrestler for Iron Man 2

Iron Man
Iron Man

Late last week, Sony set a May 6th, 2011 release date for Spider-Man 4, while Spider-Man franchise co-producer Marvel Studios locked up later slots than previously announced for three other upcoming comic films, according to The Hollywood Reporter. As a result, Marvel tentpoles will kick-off the summer box office for three straight years, beginning with Iron Man 2 – which Mickey Rourke has finally signed on to, as a major baddie – on May 7, 2010.

The moves ease Marvel’s ambitious pledge to produce two pics for release next year. It also means Marvel will spread its box office growth more evenly throughout upcoming years.

Among other key releases shifts, Marvel will delay Thor by almost a year – to June 17, 2011 – and The First Avenger: Captain America will now slam theaters on July 22, 2011. Captain America was originally scheduled for the same release date as Spider-Man 4.

The Studio has also postponed the release of The Avengers almost a year, until May 4, 2012. The Avengers is slotted last among the films, so characters figuring into the ensemble project – including Thor and Captain America – can be introduced in their own films.

Marvel is still very wisely fully financing all of the productions (except Spider-Man, which is a co-production with Sony) and releasing most pictures through Paramount, which handled Iron Man.

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