It's been a busy summer at the HitFix offices, but we're happy to finally get Movie Power Rankings back on track.  And what a couple of week's its been. Almost every major Hollywood franchise has been breaking news (a few seemingly daily) and this town can hardly get its head on straight to contemplate movies coming out over a year from now.  Two of the biggest buzz builders this month just happen to be from the same studio, Warner Bros.  WB's "Green Lantern" didn't turn out as many hoped, but with "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Man of Steel" hitting theaters in the next 18 months, the company likely won't be feeling much pain as the "Harry Potter" franchise says goodbye.

Christopher Nolan's third Batman film has been shooting in Pittsburgh and Twitter and videophones have been revealing major spoilers almost hourly.  Fans have seen Batman and Bane throwing punches in fake snow, tumblers running through the city's streets and a stunt woman driving a batpod down the city's streets.  And hundreds of thousands of fans have seen these videos all over YouTube (not to diminish the millions who have seen the still photos).  This has forced the production to take matters into their own hands which led to the surprise release of the first image of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle aka Catwoman.

Not to be out done, and perhaps fearing the paparazzi's long lenses in Vancouver, Warner Bros also debuted the first photo of Henry Cavill as Superman in Zach Snyder's "Man of Steel" the same week.  This was pretty amazing considering that the Nolan produced tentpole hasn't even begun shooting yet and won't hit theaters until - no joke - June 13, 2013.  That's 22 months from today.  If this was J.J. Abrams' movie he'd be suffering a panic attack from letting out so much so early (we kid).  Needless to say, it's a fan-friendly attitude that may do wonders in helping get the bad taste of "Superman Returns" out of everyone's mouths.  Still, "Steel" has a long way to go if it's gonna knock "Dark Knight Rises" out from the top spot after everything we've seen from the latest Bat tale.

As for the rest of this week's ratings…

Friday, Aug. 13, 2012

1. "The Dark Knight Rises"
Based on all the local news coverage in Pittsburgh, you would have thought the Steelers had just returned from winning the Super Bowl.

2. "Man of Steel"

Meet your new Superman.  Brandon Routh who?

3. Academy Awards
Brett Ratner is your new show co-producer.  Screams could be heard from Santa Monica to Pasadena when that news hit industry in boxes. At least we still have Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globes (or do we?).

4. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"

One of the few "surprise" hits of the summer with major critics going, um, ape for it. Who knew?

5. "The Twilight Saga"
Another Teen Choice Awards, another slew of [fill in latest "Twilight" film here] wins.

6. "The Stand"
A "Harry Potter" connection for the big screen adaptation of Stephen King's tome may be in the works.

7. "G.I. Joe: Retaliation"

Bruce Willis appears on board to play the original G.I. Joe Joe Colton.  Considering he's also down to play the villain in "The Expendables" sequel, Mr. Willis is on something of an action kick.  It's gotta be better than "Cop Out," right?

8. Untitled Osama bin Laden hunt movie
Even Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow isn't spared partisan political attacks. Sigh.

9. "Amazing Spider-Man"
Peter Parker won't swing into theaters again until next July, but Sony already has a sequel on the books for May 2, 2014.  

10. "Dirty Dancing"
After dropping a potential musical version of "Footloose" (or was he dropped?) Kenny Ortega is directing the long awaited remake.  We're just hoping he realizes there is no singing in this one.

11. "The Help"
How big will it be?  The only other films to get an A+ Cinemascore from audiences over the past year?  "Tangled" and word of mouth hit "Soul Surfer."

12. "Hunger Games"
No trailer yet, but Lionsgate must be happy with what they've seen.  Like "Amazing Spider-Man 2," "Catching Fire" already has a Nov. 22, 2013 release date.

13. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2"
Officially the biggest movie of the year and no. 3 all-time globally with a staggering $1.15 billion.

14. "Smurfs"
Dear lord.  Here comes the sequel in 2013.  Let's hope Neil Patrick Harris can turn this one down (for his sake).

15. "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas"

How can you not love this trailer?

What do you think of this week's Power Rankings?  Share your thoughts below.

Movie Power Rankings appear weekly except when they don't.