Thor is going to be thundering into movie theaters a little later than expected. Ditto some of his franchise-worthy crimefighting buddies.
Marvel Entertainment has pushed back the release dates of comic-book bonanzas Thor, The Avengers and The First Avenger: Captain America, delaying the films by up to a year.
As for why...well, it's all about building the buzz.
While the hammer-wielding Norseman was originally scheduled for release on July 16, 2010, he will now roar into theaters the following summer, on June 17, 2011.
The Avengers, meanwhile, is even further from fruition, nixing its planned July 15, 2011, release (and a showdown with the final Harry Potter) for one on May 4, 2012, instead.
Captain America fans have the shortest wait time, with the film's release getting a comparably measly delay of just a few months. The First Avenger is moving from a release date of May 6, 2011, to one of July 22 the same year.
No reason was given for the schedule shift, though chairman David Maisel said that the switcheroo "maximizes the visibility of our single character-focused films, leading to the highly anticipated release of the multicharacter The Avengers film in 2012."
Spreading out the releases also gives the studio the shot of at least one of the films turning into a blockbuster and lessens—though far from alleviates altogether—the chances of direct competition with other Marvel releases.
And, of course, it builds buzz and recognition for the hopefully all-star characters set to appear in the superhero conglomerate The Avengers.
As it now stands,will be the sole Marvel release for 2010, while Spider-Man 4, Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America will hit screens in 2011. The Avengers will come later still in 2012.
Castmembers are already being rounded up to participate in the effects-heavy crowd-pleasing slate. As announced yesterday, Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson have both formally signed on to appear opposite Robert Downey Jr. in the highly anticipated sequel.
That film's release date remains unchanged and is still on track for a May 7, 2010, release.