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Marvel delays release of <i>Thor</i> and <i>The Avengers</i> movies

Fans of Thor and The Avengers will have to wait another year to see the Marvel superheroes on the big screen.

Marvel Studios announced this morning that Thor, originally scheduled for July 2010, now will be released on June 17, 2011. The ensemble Avengers, initially set for July 2011, now will kick off the summer-movie season on May 4, 2012.

The company also shifted The First Avenger: Captain America from May 6, 2011, to July 22, 2011. The original release date conflicted with Sony Pictures' Spider-Man 4, which Marvel confirmed will open on May 6, 2011.

"This new schedule strongly sequences Marvel’s movie debut dates, big-screen character introductions and momentum," Marvel Studios Chairman David Maisel said in a press release. "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."

So, the Marvel Studios slate is as follows:

Iron Man 2 -- May 7, 2010 (unchanged)• Thor -- June 17, 2011• The First Avenger: Captain America -- July 22, 2011• The Avengers -- May 4, 2012

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