Paramount announces Transformers 3 release date

Part 2 hasn’t even hit theaters yet and already Paramount and DreamWorks are going ahead with Transformers 3, with a planned release date of July 1, 2011.

It’s the first word on the film that would make the series a trilogy and most likely open it up for more films to follow, 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 signed 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 and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will open on June 24, 2009, one week before the holiday.

So far, Transformers 3 has no direct competition on its July 1, 2011, date, but that is still a long way off.

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 film.

That shift comes less than a week after Marvel pushed back the release by a year, from July 16, 2010, to June 16, 2011.

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

The 2011 Summer blockbusterfest will kick off with the May 6 release of Sony’s Spider-Man 4.