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Area movie theaters prepare for summertime swarm
As summer cinema offerings emerge, Hollywood hopes for a string of blockbusters
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Harrison Ford (center) is back as Indiana Jones, co-starring with Shia LaBeouf (left) in Paramount Pictures presentation of Lucasfilm’s "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
PINELLAS COUNTY – Hollywood’s hoping for a good summer ... and the season’s first big screen debut, “Iron Man,” didn’t disappoint.

Box Office Mojo LLC reported that Paramount Pictures’ newest superhero flick, based on the character developed by Marvel Comics, raked in nearly $100 million in its first weekend.

Critics and audiences alike have heaped favorable reviews on the film. It’s a promising start to the season, to be sure, but ... will the rest of this summer’s mega-movies reach or surpass the success of “Iron Man”?

Following is a rundown, week by week, of what moviegoers can expect to see on the big screen in the coming months.

May 16

• “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” – It has been only one year for the Pevensie children, but in Narnia more than 1,300 years have passed. The Golden Age of Narnia has ended and the land has been conquered by the Telmarines. Now the children must help Prince Caspian defeat those who stand against him and restore glory to the realm.

May 22

• “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” – The dream team comes together again: Steven Spielberg directs; Frank Marshall, George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy produce and Harrison Ford reprises his role as Indiana Jones. Based on a screenplay by David Koepp from a story by Lucas and Jeff Nathanson, the film also will feature Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent and Shia LaBeouf.

June 13

• “The Happening” – Director M. Night Shyamalan’s entry into the film fray this year stars Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel in a paranoid thriller about a family on the run from an inexplicable and unstoppable event that threatens humankind.

• “The Incredible Hulk” – Universal Pictures and Marvel Studios combine forces to try to make this hot comic property make the jump to the big screen. If at first you don’t succeed ...

June 20

• “Get Smart” – Potentially the summer’s best comedy, Steve Carell takes on the role Don Adams made famous in the television series. As Maxwell Smart, he’ll be on a mission to thwart the latest plot for world domination by the evil crime syndicate known as KAOS.

June 27

• “Wanted” – James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie star in this Universal Pictures science fiction thriller which follows the tale of an apathetic drone’s transformation into an unparalleled enforcer of justice.

July 11

• “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” – Universal Pictures follows up the 2004 blockbuster with this suspenseful sequel starring Ron Perlman as the planet’s toughest superhero.

July 18

• “The Dark Knight” – Warner Brothers Pictures’ film reunites director Christopher Nolan with star Christian Bale as Batman's continues his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman sets out to destroy organized crime in Gotham for good, only to come face to face with a rising criminal mastermind known as the Joker (Heath Ledger).

July 25

• “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” – FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully return to the big screen in Chris Carter’s long-awaited sequel. The script is being kept under lock and key at Area 51, so there’s no telling what the story will involve ... but that won’t keep fans from guessing. Aliens conspiring with terrorists? Government-sanctioned superhuman soldiers? Chupacabres in the sewers?

Aug. 1

• “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” – Brendan Fraser is back as explorer Rick O’Connell in Universals Pictures’ third foray into the classic mummy franchise. This time, O’Connell has to face the resurrected Han Emperor (Jet Li).

Aug. 15

• “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” – Apparently, George Lucas has more stories to tell. Warner Brothers Pictures and Lucasfilm Animation return to the Star Wars universe in this animated adventure. Favorite characters, including Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padmé Amidala, are on the front lines of an intergalactic struggle between good and evil, along with brand new heroes like Anakin’s padawan learner, Ahsoka.

• “Mirrors” – In this 20th Century Fox flick, Kiefer Sutherland portrays an ex-cop turned night security guard at a long-closed department store ravaged by fire. He discovers that the store's mirrors harbor a horrific secret that threatens him and his family.

Aug. 29

• “Babylon A.D.” – The summer can’t slip away without a Vin Diesel movie. This time, Diesel plays a mercenary who must transport a young woman carrying a secret through a post-apocalyptic Eastern Europe.
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