published Sunday, May 6th, 2012

It’s the summer for super heroes at the cinema

"The Avengers" is the first of several blockbuster comic book movie adaptations to hit the screens this summer.
"The Avengers" is the first of several blockbuster comic book movie adaptations to hit the screens this summer.

PREDICTED SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS

"The Avengers," now in theaters -- Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America come together to save the world.

"Men in Black III," May 25 -- Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return for the third installment in the popular franchise.

"Prometheus," June 8 -- Ridley Scott directs this mostly-under-wraps science-fiction film, which is rumored to be a prequel to his film "Alien."

"The Amazing Spider-Man," July 3 -- Andrew Garfield stars in this reboot of the "Spider-Man" franchise, taking a new angle from the original.

"The Dark Knight Rises," July 20 -- Christian Bale returns as Batman, facing off against villains Bane (Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) in the conclusion to this series of Batman films.

Gary Walker of Hixson doesn't buy too many Marvel comic books, he said Tuesday at B&M Amusements on Highway 58.

In fact, most of the comic books in his arms were "Star Wars" and DC Comics, with a "John Carter" comic thrown into the mix.

Still, Walker said he does follow the movies that are spawned from Marvel comics.

He's going to have a busy summer, with the release of two adaptations from Marvel, "The Avengers" and "The Amazing Spider-Man," and one from DC, "The Dark Knight Rises."

"I'm trying to stay spoiler-free," he said. "I don't go on the Internet."

Summer is usually a hotbed for the release of brand-name, high-profile movies that rake in huge business for theaters.

"Around this time until the beginning or middle of August, we get ready for the summer blockbusters," said Todd Coffman, manager of Carmike Cinemas. "The way things have been going, we could see some of the biggest box-office business in summers, or years."

Released Friday, "The Avengers" brought together superheroes from previous Marvel movies -- Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor and Captain America. A marathon of all the Avengers-related superheroes was shown at Carmike Majestic 12 all day Thursday leading up to the midnight premiere of "The Avengers."

"Comic books already have that cult following," Coffman said. "Comic-book movies bring out the gentlemen. A bunch of guys will get together to go see them."

To coincide with the film's release, a book called "Avengers Assemble" was released.

B&M Amusements, 5036 Highway 58, had a fair amount of copies available but has since sold old, probably as anticipation for "The Avengers" continued to build, employee Tyler Smith said.

"It's a shame to sell out before the movie came out," he said. "A whole range of people have waited for a long time to see an Avengers movie."

On July 3, Marvel's "The Amazing Spider-Man" swings into theaters. This film attempts to reboot the franchise with a new story and cast that's unrelated to the original trilogy.

Consensus seemed to be lukewarm for "The Amazing Spider-Man." Walker will probably wait for the DVD to see it and skip it in the theaters, he said.

Coffman was also hesitant at first, but he said that changed after he saw clips for the movie at various conventions.

"It looks better than the ones we just had in the theater," he said.

They all lead up to what some believe could be the biggest movie of the summer, and maybe even year: "The Dark Knight Rises," which is the third and supposedly final chapter in this Batman series.

The last installment, "The Dark Knight," opened in summer 2008 and grossed more than $500 million in the United States alone, according to the website Box Office Mojo.

"That one's going to be hard to beat," Coffman said. "But the anticipation is high. It started with 'Batman Begins,' and each time business has increased."

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