Marvel pushes back several films, including 'Avengers'

The Baltimore Sun

Fans of The Avengers will have to wait a little longer to see their favorite superheroes on the big screen. Marvel Entertainment Inc. said yesterday that it will debut the flick May 4, 2012, nearly a year after its previous launch date of July 15, 2011.

The Avengers, which features a team of comic book characters, will be the culmination of a series of movies based on individual Marvel characters that will be released leading up to it.

Iron Man 2, which stars Robert Downey Jr. as the title character, will launch May 7, 2010, as scheduled.

It will be followed by Thor on June 17, 2011, instead of its previously planned release date of July 16, 2010.

The First Avenger: Captain America is now coming out July 22, 2011, instead of May 6, 2011.

Separately, Marvel confirmed that Spider-Man 4 from Sony Pictures Entertainment is slated to hit theaters May 6, 2011.

The new schedule "maximizes the visibility of our single character-focused films, leading to the highly anticipated release of the multi-character The Avengers," said David Maisel, chairman of Marvel Studios, in a statement.

Cowen and Co. stock analyst Doug Creutz downgraded Marvel to "neutral" from "outperform," saying the delays of both Thor and The Avengers are "an indication that Marvel is unlikely to achieve its stated strategy of two self-produced film releases per year."

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