Marvel to launch 'Thor' on May 20, 2011

Spider-Man will swing back into theaters on May 6, 2011.

Columbia Pictures confirmed that the fourth installment in the comicbook franchise, based on the popular Marvel character, will unspool in both traditional and Imax theaters on the date, making it the first summer tentpole that year.

Sony had been eying the spot on the calendar for months (Daily Variety, March 12). The May date had previously been occupied by another superhero pic, Marvel Studios’ planned launch of “The First Avenger: Captain America,” before it moved to July 22, 2011.

Marvel will also launch “Thor” that summer, on May 20, 2011.

Pic reunites helmer Sam Raimi with franchise stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Gary Ross is penning the script.

The previous installments have generated more than $2.5 billion in worldwide box office.

The last two pics were also released in Imax theaters, and by the time the next one bows, Imax and Sony should benefit as there will be more of the large-format theaters in the marketplace.

“Our network has grown significantly, and we continue to roll out new theaters virtually every week, giving more moviegoers the opportunity to experience the movie in Imax,” said Imax CEO Richard L. Gelfond.

As of June, Imax operated 273 commercial theaters in 44 countries.

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