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With ‘Batman 3’ release date, 2012 will see a superhero summer showdown

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Chris Nolan is staying on a biannual schedule. With the director’s “The Dark Knight”

Warner Bros. confirmed today that “Batman 3” (not its final title, obviously) will come out in the summer of 2012, on July 20. In addition to making fanboys the world over salivate with eager anticipation, that also sets up a box-office rematch of sorts between Nolan’s Batman franchise, a DC creation, and the movies from Marvel’s stable of characters, as “The Avengers,” the supergroup of superhero Marvel movies, comes out a few months earlier (in May).

When the first round of that slugfest went down, in the summer of 2008, “The Dark Knight” trumped “Iron Man” handily, grossing $215 million more in the U.S. But “Iron Man” wasn’t yet a cultural juggernaut back then. In 2012 the landscape could look a little different, as Marvel characters have continued to gain traction.

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“Avengers” will also have the benefit of Thor, Captain America and other characters from its film appearing in their own movies the summer before. And all this after “Iron Man 2” looks to break the opening-weekend record of “The Dark Knight” next week. The high-tech weaponry, she is flying.

--Steven Zeitchik


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