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'Pirates Of The Caribbean,' 'Hangover 2' Highlight Sequel Heavy Summer

'Pirates Of The Caribbean,' 'Hangover 2' Highlight Sequel Heavy Summer

With the box office continuing its usual slow pace through the spring, it's a good time to start looking to the potential blockbusters that will soon be invading theaters. Here's a sneak peek at the early summer movies that distributors will be starting to push in the next few weeks.

"Thor," May 6:

The Hollywood summer actually starts as soon as the calendar turns to May, and "Thor" is the summer's first potential blockbuster. With a familiar hero and the promise of plenty of action and thrills, "Thor" is in line for a nice box office run if it can catch on with audiences in the early going. Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," May 20:

With a franchise this profitable, it looks like Disney/Buena Vista will continue to make new entries in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise until Johnny Depp has simply had enough. Though the last two "Pirates" movies were shredded by critics, they still went on to earn more than $1 billion worldwide each, showing that there is still plenty of moviegoers interested in seeing more adventures with Captain Jack Sparrow. The pitch-perfect casting of Ian McShane as the infamous pirate Blackbeard also adds a little bit of intrigue to a series on the verge of becoming stale. Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz

"The Hangover Part II," May 26:

Considering that "The Hangover" was one of the most commercially successful movies of the last decade, it's safe to say that its sequel will find an audience when it hits theaters Thursday, May 26. The original four cast members are back and there promises to be a couple of interesting cameos, with Warner Brothers clearly trying to find the same formula that made the original such a smash hit. Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms

"Kung Fu Panda 2," May 27:

The first "Kung Fu Panda" was a huge mainstream hit, which should open the door for the sequel to reach an even wider audience. Paramount/Dreamworks is now a major force in the animated film genre and this should be one of the biggest moneymakers of the entire year. Starring: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen

"The Tree of Life," May 27:

This one doesn't have nearly as much commercial potential as the other summer releases, though film buffs have been waiting for it for a while. Arthouse writer/director Terrence Malick, whose films "Badlands" and "Days of Heaven" were seminal films of the 1970s, has been putting the final touches on the film for the better part of a year and audiences will finally get a glimpse at his latest. Starring: Sean Penn, Brad Pitt

"X-Men: First Class," June 3:

The "X-Men" franchise took a hit recently with "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," but that doesn't mean that this one won't be a success. Kevin Bacon and Michael Fassbender are new editions to the series and there is still a very loyal fan base that will probably make this one another substantial commercial success. Starring: Kevin Bacon, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones

"Super 8," June 10:

From director J.J. Abrams, sci-fi thriller "Super 8" is one of the few original films this summer that looks to have mega blockbuster potential. Though details about the film have been scarce, "Super 8" is getting a major marketing push from distributor Paramount and boasts Steven Spielberg as an executive producer. Starring: Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler

"The Green Lantern," June 17:

It was only a matter of time before Hollywood got around to making a movie about the Green Lantern. Star Ryan Reynolds has been helping to push "The Green Lantern" for months now and it looks like it's in a good position to potentially launch a franchise if it's accepted by mainstream action audiences. "The Green Lantern" is also from director Martin Campbell, who helped get the latest re-imaging of the James Bond franchise underway with the successful "Casino Royale" back in 2006. Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively

"Cars 2," June 24:

There doesn't seem to be much stopping Pixar at this point and "Cars 2" is just about a sure thing in terms of its blockbuster potential. Pixar rarely does sequels, but the ones they have done ("Toy Story 2 & 3") have been absolutely enormous, and that shouldn't change for "Cars 2." All the main voices from the original are back, and "Cars 2" will almost certainly finish the year as one of the top two or three family features. Starring: Owen Wilson, Michael Caine

by RTT Staff Writer

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