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Transformers 3 booked for 2011

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Paramount and DreamWorks are forging ahead with “Transformers 3,” dating the movie for release on July 1, 2011, according to Variety.

It’s the first word of the three-quel, although Paramount insiders downplayed the importance of the move.

They said the studio wanted to claim the date before a competitor did, considering that the 2011 summer release calendar is filling up.

No deals have been inked with director Michael Bay or franchise stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. Nor has a writer been hired for the third installment.

The big-budget franchise has fast tried to claim the July Fourth holiday frame as its own. “Transformers” opened on July 3, 2007; “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” bows on June 24, 2009, one week before the holiday.

So far, “Transformers 3″ has no direct competition on its July 1, 2011, date.

Paramount also moved up the release of Marvel Entertainment’s “Thor” from June 16, 2011, to May 20, 2011, on behalf of Marvel Entertainment, which is producing and financing the superhero pic.

That shift comes less than one week after Marvel said it was pushing back the release of “Thor” by a year, from July 16, 2010, to June 16, 2011.

Marvel was criticized by some for scheduling “Thor” and “The First Avenger: Captain America” so close together. “Captain America” opens July 22, 2011.

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