The Most Anticipated Movies of 2011

It’s 2011, believe it or not, and there’s a whole new crop of movies to look forward to from Norse gods, to Swedish hackers, to Kermit the Frog. We’ve put together a list of some of the most anticipated flicks of the year. Keep reading.
Thor (May 6) — You’ll have to wait until 2012 for the A-list superheroes like Spider-Man, Batman and even Superman to return to your local megaplex. In the meantime, there’s “Thor.” Unlike those others, this superhero is not a millionaire with a dark side or a high school kid with unusual insect bites. No. Thor is a god! This movie gives fans a chance to see the mighty warrior (played by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth) in his own flick. You’ll see him next fighting along side Iron Man and the Hulk in the hotly anticipated “Avengers” movie, which also comes out in 2012.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20) — Jack Sparrow is back, which isn’t surprising considering the huge piles of booty raked in by the last three flicks. This time Sparrow teams up with his old nemesis Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and his old flame Angelica (Penelope Cruz) to track down the Fountain of Youth. Blocking their path is Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and a host of supernatural baddies that includes zombies and mermaids.
[See also: Newest Bond girl cast for ‘Hansel and Gretel’]
The Hangover, Part II (May 26) — If there’s one place on the planet that can top Vegas in terms of sin, it’s the red-light districts of Thailand. And that’s where Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) head for Stu’s (Ed Helms) bachelor party. It’s safe to assume that the party goes horribly wrong. The production landed itself in the news last year with word of two high-profile cameos. Bill Clinton appears briefly, perhaps the only ex-president out there appropriate for a “Hangover” movie. Mel Gibson, after a lot of screaming and yelling, will not be in the flick.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (July 1) — “Transformers 2” might have made over $400 million domestically, but just about everyone from hardcore fans to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura to star Shia LaBeouf admits that the movie just wasn’t that good. Michael Bay has promised that this flick will be better and reportedly will have cooler action and less “dorky comedy.” Also absent from this go-around is Megan Fox, replaced by Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
[Photos: The top 10 box office movies of 2010 ]
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (July 15) — It’s taken just about ten years for everyone’s favorite boy wizard to have his final face-off with He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. While the previous Potter movie, the first half of J.K. Rowling’s tome, started with some high-flying action (literally) only to level into a long stretch of angst, exile and self-doubt, this movie looks like it’s going to be one long breathless chase to that wizarding Gotterdammerung, the battle of Hogwarts.
Cowboys & Aliens (July 29) — Han Solo and James Bond star in a Western about aliens. Do you really need to know more? It’s a veritable tiramisu of Fanboy awesomeness. Jon Favreau of “Iron Man” fame directs.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 (November 18) — After the wild success of “Eclipse,” Twi-hards everywhere are waiting with bated breath to see how Stephenie Meyer’s final book in the Twilight series is going to be adapted. Thematically, “Breaking Dawn” is marked with less moony-eyed longing than the previous books and with more shocks, including a graphic, not to mention icky, child-birthing scene. How can this movie possibly be faithful to the text and keep a tween-friendly rating of PG-13? The producers are remaining tight-lipped about the whole thing, but they did bring in Oscar-winning filmmaker Bill Condon to direct. We’ll see if the “Dreamgirls” director can find a way to satisfy both fans and the MPAA.

The Muppets (November 23) — Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and the rest of the gang is finally getting a reboot after a twelve year absence from the silver screen. The same guys responsible for “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” — Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller — wrote the screenplay, so expect the same silly comic sensibility as “Marshall” — though presumably with a lot less nudity. There are few public details about “The Muppets” although Amy Adams, Zach Galifianakis, Paul Rudd and Ricky Gervais along with Segel do reportedly star.
Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (December 16) — Tom Cruise reprises his role as the seemingly indestructible IMF agent, Ethan Hunt. Not much is known about the plot aside from a couple of pictures with Cruise dangling from the tallest building in the world — Burj Khalifa in Dubai. If that seems incredible, it’s just as well. The movie’s director, Brad Bird, previously directed “The Incredibles.” Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, Josh Holloway, and Simon Pegg also star.
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (December 21) — Stieg Larsson’s book might just be one of the most compulsively readable books out there; it’s a relentlessly riveting murder mystery that turns the popular view of Sweden from a nice quiet country that makes great furniture to a hotbed of family jealousy, investigative journalism and hidden crimes. It also features one of the most memorable literary characters in memory — the punk-rock hacker savant Lisbeth Salander. It’s not surprising then that film producers snatched up the movie rights faster than you can say lutefisk. A well-crafted European version of the movie came out in ’09, but now it’s Hollywood’s turn, featuring director David Fincher, fresh off his soon-to-be-Oscar-winning flick “The Social Network” and starring Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer and Rooney Mara as Salander.

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