Marvel Studios has made some major shifts to its upcoming release schedule, pushing back premieres for "Thor," "The First Avenger: Captain America" and "The Avengers."

The studio announced Thursday (March 12) that "Thor," with Kenneth Branagh directing a yet-to-be-announced star, will now open on June 17, 2011, changed from July 16, 2010.

That will give "Thor" a one-month head-start on "The First Avenger: Captain America," which will open on July 22, 2011 (pushed back from May 6).

Both films have been given plenty of breathing room to get out of the way of the real Summer 2011 Marvel behemoth "Spider-Man 4," which will be released by Sony on May 6, 2011, a date first revealed on Thursday.

The biggest film getting pushed back in this ripple effect is "The Avengers." The superhero omnibus was previously scheduled to open on July 15, 2011, but it will now be slated for May 4, 2012.

The only film on Marvel's 2010-2012 slate not to get a new release date is "Iron Man 2," which is still scheduled to premiere on May 7, 2010. That will position Marvel properties in the first week of May three summers in a row from 2010 to 2012.

"This new schedule strongly sequences Marvel's movie debut dates, big screen character introductions and momentum. It maximizes the visibility of our single character-focused films, leading to the highly anticipated release of the multi-character 'The Avengers' film in 2012," says David Maisel, chairman of Marvel Studios, in a statement. 

 

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