'Fast Five' and 'Thor' kick off spring's most-anticipated blockbusters

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The Independent Culture

With the animated 3D hit Rio jumpstarting the soft 2011 box office around the world, April and May movies bring a series of blockbusters that lead into a big summer for films.

It started this past weekend with Fast Five racing ahead of the pack and Thor leading the superhero parade, likely to hammer his way to the top of the box office.

There are also movies for a wide range of audiences from kids to adults, families, fanboys, and boys of all ages. Some of the most anticipated films being released include three sequels and three 3D films.

Release dates: out in Australia; international roll out April 27-29; May 6 in North America
The debut of Marvel's Thor, or Mighty Thor as it is called in some markets, is already off to a great start in Australia. The story of an arrogant warrior banished to earth who must come to the rescue stars Chris Hemsworth ( Star Trek), Anthony Hopkins ( The Wolfman) and Natalie Portman ( Black Swan) and is directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHBnrJowBZE

Fast Five
Release dates: out in UK, Australia, South Korea, and more; April 28-29 in North America, Germany, Russia, Spain and more; October in Japan
The fifth installment of the successful Fast & Furious franchise opened strong internationally, debuting in first in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the story follows the crew on the wrong side of the law caught between a drug lord and federal agent. Director Justin Lin returns.
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcn2GOuZCKI

The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Release dates: premiere at Cannes and then worldwide opening May 18-20
Captain Jack Sparrow returns in 3D and encounters a woman from his past and the infamous pirate Blackbeard. Starring Johnny Depp , Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane and Geoffrey Rush in an action-packed search for the elusive Fountain of Youth. Directed by Rob Marshall ( Nine, Chicago).
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0_hqFW5hcg

The Hangover II
Release dates: May 26 in North America, the UK, Australia; June roll-out; July in Japan
The surprise hit of 2009 returns. With Bradley Cooper ( Limitless), Zach Galifianakis ( Due Date), Ed Helms ( The Office) and Mike Tyson, and directed by Todd Philipps. Instead of Las Vegas, the group travels to Bangkok for Stu's wedding and another bachelor misadventure that they can't remember.
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1eFEMNLtao

Kung Fu Panda 2
Release date: May 26 in North America, Malaysia and Singapore; rolls out in June; August in Japan
The martial-arts panda is back in 3D, featuring the voices of Jack Black ( Gulliver's Travels), Angelina Jolie ( The Tourist), Jackie Chan, Gary Oldman, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dustin Hoffman, and Seth Rogen. Directed by Jennifer Yuh, the film sees the Furious Five venture to China to battle a villain and uncover the secrets of Po's origins.
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIA6KNfpRqs