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Much of the country is still experiencing that early-spring chill, but summer is just six weeks away. Or the Hollywood version of it is, anyway. Early May marks the start of this year’s crowded blockbuster season as Iron Man 3 lands in theaters.

Marvel’s been marketing the hell out of this movie (remember when we got a poster like every two days?) and this weekend they made a grab for the family crowd with two new efforts. The first is a new TV spot that aired during the Kids’ Choice Awards, featuring bursts of new footage, and the second is an Iron Man 3-themed monorail winding its way through Walt Disney World. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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Star Wars-Atlanta Braves spring training (3)

Jedi may be more comfortable swinging lightsabers than baseball bats, but Mickey-as-Obi-Wan seems to hold his own just fine against the Atlanta Braves in spring training. Check out the photographic evidence after the jump. Also:

  • Harrison Ford is pretty sure he’ll be in Episode VII
  • Rumor has it a Palpatine follower is Episode VII‘s villain
  • Here’s what Brad Bird would change about Episode VI
  • Was the destruction of the Death Star an inside job?
  • Dwayne Johnson would “absolutely” do Star Wars
  • Vote for the best character in StarWars.com‘s bracket
  • Disney World’s Star Wars Weekends unveils a new poster
  • Could Disney World get a new Star Wars-themed “land”?
  • See new screencaps from Star Wars: First Assault
  • Clone Wars director Dave Filoni is working with Disney Channel

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There’s a lot of movie-themed news and speculation going on in the theme park world and we’ve got it all in one place. In this edition of Theme Park Bits, read about the following:

  • Is Disney planning a full Star Wars land at California Adventure?
  • The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Ride is getting its own TV series
  • The Lord of the Rings term “Middle Earth” has been trademarked for use in an amusement park.
  • An Incredibles ride could be in the works
  • Development on Avatar Land is reportedly not going well.
  • The Marvel-themed Stark Expo has been stalled.
  • Imagineering legend Tony Baxter is leaving Disney.
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Disney’s World of Avatar Attraction Delayed?

James Cameron is notorious for blowing deadlines when it comes to his movie releases, so it should come as no surprise that he’s no better at sticking to schedules when it comes to theme park attractions.

About a year ago, Walt Disney Co. announced plans for James Cameron’s World of Avatar, a devoted “land” located within Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. At the time, the company had plans to get construction underway by 2013, with doors likely to open around 2015 or so. But now we’re hearing rumblings that that project may be running behind as well. More details after the jump.

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If you could have one prop from any movie, what would it be? For me, the answer is simple: Han Solo in Carbonite from The Empire Strikes Back. Since I was a child, I’ve purchased almost every toy and trinket related to that iconic image, up to and including the recently released Sideshow Collectible Premium Format Figure (above). But none of that compares to the awesome that awaits Star Wars fans who go to Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World this summer.

There, you can have yourself scanned and made into your very own personal, 3D toy of you frozen in carbonite. Read more after the jump. Read More »

The filmmaker who brought us Hostel is now, ironically enough, getting into the tourism game himself. Eli Roth’s Goretorium, a haunted house, is scheduled to open September 27 at the corner of the Strip (a.k.a. Las Vegas Boulevard) and Harmon Avenue in Las Vegas. Though the timing is expected to help the Goretorium tap into the Halloween industry, the multi-level attraction will remain open all year round. Roth was previously behind the popular Hostel-themed maze at Universal Studios Hollywood last year.

Roth expressed his hope that the new attraction would become “the world mecca for horror fans,” and talked up the Goretorium’s terrors. “Horror fans know that with my name on it, it won’t be for little kids,” he said. “They know it will be a very scary experience.” If all goes well, the Las Vegas Goretorium could be the first of many. Roth says that he’s already received offers to franchise the Goretorium to locations in London, New York, and Tokyo. [Deadline]

After the jump, Captain Jack Sparrow arrives in Florida, and Universal Studios heads to Russia.

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