Even before many of this summer's anticipated blockbusters -- 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,' 'Cars 2,' 'The Hangover Part II,' et al -- open, studios are already predicting record-setting box office.
And those predictions came in before pre-summer hits like 'Fast Five,' 'Thor' and 'Bridesmaids' boosted movie attendance 8 percent.
DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg boasted at CinemaCon in March that he "couldn't be more confident that the summer of 2011 will go down in history as the biggest ever."
Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore banked on the studio's promising properties ('Super 8,' 'Captain America,' 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' and 'Puss in Boots') when he predicted that 2011 would set records.
While all those movies are certain to draw big crowds, 2010 will be a tough year to beat, with blockbusters like 'Toy Story 3' racking up $415 million in the U.S alone. Hollywood needs a 'Toy Story'-size hit to catch up to last year, since at this time in 2010, the yearly box office stood $422 million higher.
Joel Cohen, CEO of Movietickets.com, told Variety, "If you look at the upcoming title [like 'Pirates' and 'Transformers'] they're guarantees." He praised 'The Hangover Part II' and 'Kung Fu Panda 2' as ideal Memorial Day counter-programming to all that stuff blowing up. "I've never seen a summer that's been put so well together," he said.
The only question is whether these potential blockbusters are spaced far enough apart without cutting into their rivals' earnings. There's only a week between 'Kung Fu Panda 2,' 'X-Men: First Class,' 'Super 8' and 'Green Lantern.' July isn't any less crowded, with 'Transformers,' 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2,' 'Captain America: The First Avenger' and 'Cowboys & Aliens.'
Tell us, which movies are you most excited to catch in the theaters? And most willing to fork over your hard-earned dollars to see? Or are there just too many blockbusters vying for your attention?