Top Hollywood film releases of 2011

Comic book action heroes, 3D and sequels are common themes for the blockbuster films coming from Hollywood in 2011. The year starts slow but the summer will be packed with big action-packed adventures.

May 6 in North America; April 28 in Singapore, France, India and others; Japan June 1

Stars Anthony Hopkins ( The Wolfman), Natalie Portman ( Black Swan), Samuel L. Jackson ( Iron Man 2), and Chris Hemsworth ( Star Trek) in the title role. Kenneth Branagh ( The Magic Flute) directs the Marvel comics tale of the Norse warrior, the powerful and arrogant Thor, who is cast from Asgard to Earth where he learns about heroism.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

May 20 worldwide release

This fourth installment of the fantasy adventure stars Johnny Depp ( The Tourist) as Jack Sparrow, who sets off with Barbossa, played by Geoffrey Rush ( The King's Speech), on a quest for the elusive fountain of youth, encountering Blackbeard seeking it too, along with his daughter, portrayed by Penelope Cruz ( Broken Embraces). Directed by Rob Marshall ( Nine) this sequel also features Keith Richards as Sparrow's father.

Green Lantern

June 17 in North America, Malaysia, Italy and the UK; others to follow

Based on the DC comic, this adaptation in 3D stars Ryan Reynolds ( The Proposal), Blake Lively ( The Town), Peter Sarsgaard ( An Education) and Mark Strong ( Robin Hood). Directed by Martin Campbell ( Casino Royale), the story follows a test pilot granted a mystical green ring that gives him supernatural powers and membership in an intergalactic peacekeeping squadron.

Rise of the Apes

June 24 in North America, Russia, the UK and more

A reboot of the Planet of the Apes franchise, this newest version of the sci-fi adventure stars James Franco ( 127 Hours), Freida Pinto ( Slumdog Millionaire), Andy Serkis ( The Lord of the Rings), and Tom Felton (Harry Potter films). This origin tale depicts man's experiments with genetic engineering leading to the development of intelligence in apes and a war for supremacy. Created using new motion-capture technology, not masks.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

June 29 in the UK, France, Malaysia and more; North America on July 1

The third in the director Michael Bay's franchise, the Autobots Bumblebee, Ratchet, Ironhide, and Sideswipe led by Optimus Prime, are back to take on the evil Decepticons. Stars Shia LaBeouf ( Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), John Malkovich ( RED), Frances McDormand ( Burn After Reading), Ken Jeong ( The Hangover), Patrick Dempsey ( Valentine's Day) and model-turned actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
 July 13-15 internationally; July 23 in Japan

The dramatic 3D finale of the Harry Potter franchise from the 7th and last of J.K. Rowling's book series brings on the biggest battle. Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint as they return to Hogwarts to find and destroy Voldemorts final horcruxes. Directed by David Yates and costarring Alan Rickman and Ralph Fiennes. Life for the trio will never be the same again - nor will it be for Potter fans.

Captain America: The First Avenger

July 22 in North America, the UK and others; other dates to follow

A re-imagining of the Marvel comic starring Chris Evans ( Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), Hugo Weaving ( The Lord of the Rings), Samuel L. Jackson ( The Other Guys), Stanley Tucci ( Burlesque), and Tommy Lee Jones ( No Country for Old Men). The story follows Steve Rogers when he volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into superhero Captain America. Directed by Joe Johnston ( The Wolfman).

Cowboys & Aliens
July 29 in North America; August in the UK, Norway, India, Italy; Germany in September

Based on a graphic novel created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg about the Old American West clashing with the future. Stars Daniel Craig ( Quantum of Solace) plays a gunslinger with amnesia and a mysterious weapon. Costars Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones films), Olivia Wilde ( Tron: Legacy), and Sam Rockwell ( Moon). Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man films), it follows Indians and cowboys joining forces when a spaceship crashes in town.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1

November 18 in North America, the UK, France, Australia; November 24 in Germany and Malaysia; more to follow

The first part of the series finale from Stephenie Meyer's books starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Directed by Bill Condon ( Dreamgirls, Gods and Monsters), this tale finds the Quileute and the Volturi closing in on parents-to-be Edward and Bella, whose unborn child poses different threats to the wolves and vampires. Part 2 comes November 16, 2012.

Hugo Cabret

December 9 in North America, France and Germany; other dates to follow

This Martin Scorsese film ( Shutter Island) in 3D follows the fanciful and meaningful tale of an orphan who lives inside a train station, wrapped in a mystery involving his late father. Set in 1930s Paris, it stars Jude Law ( Sherlock Holmes), Chloe Moretz ( Kick-Ass), Sacha Baron Cohen ( Bruno), Ben Kingsley ( Prince of Persia), and Frances de la Tour ( The Book of Eli) with Asa Butterfield ( Nanny McPhee Returns) in the title role.

Sherlock Holmes 2
December 16 in North America, the UK and Netherlands; other dates to follow

Robert Downey Jr. is back as Sherlock, joined by his sidekick Dr. Watson, played by Jude Law ( Repo Men), to outwit and bring down their adversary, Professor Moriarty. Noomi Rapace ( The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) costars with Stephen Fry ( Valkyrie) and director Guy Ritchie ( RocknRolla, Snatch) returns.

Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

October and November in select countries; December 28 in North America

Adapted from the Hergé comics, director Steven Spielberg creates a motion capture 3D film starring Jamie Bell ( Billy Elliot), Daniel Craig ( Quantum of Solace), Andy Serkis ( The Lord of the Rings), Simon Pegg ( The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) and Cary Elwes ( Saw). The adventure follows a young reporter, Tintin, and his terrier, Snowy, as they discover directions to a sunken ship and head on a treasure hunt.

The Muppets

December 21 in Germany; December 25 in North America; elsewhere in February 2012

Kermit the Frog and his fellow Muppets put on a show to save their old theater. Rebooted by actor Jason Segel ( I Love You, Man) who costars with Amy Adams ( Enchanted), Zach Galifianakis ( The Hangover) and Chris Cooper ( The Town). Directed by James Bobin ( Da Ali G Show).


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