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Summer movie season packed with familiar franchises, and more

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" kicked off summer movie season
"Avengers: Age of Ultron" kicked off summer m... 05:35

It's not even May, but Hollywood is ready to start thinking summer.

Summer movie season kicks off in a big way on Friday - or Thursday evening, technically - with the debut of "Avengers: Age of Ultron," the star-packed sequel that reunites Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the rest of the Marvel supergroup to save humanity from the villainous robot Ultron (James Spader).

Take a look through the calendar of movie releases from May-August and you'll see lots of other familiar franchises -- "Terminator," "Mission: Impossible" and a certain amusement part filled with dinosaurs, to name a few -- coming back around to the big screen again in the form of reboots and sequels.

"This summer is more packed with big franchise movies than any summer I can recall," Fandango Chief Correspondent Dave Karger told CBS News. "You name a franchise and there's a new installment this summer. I can't recall a season that's that busy with tentpoles."

Those also include a reboot of the post-apocalyptic "Mad Max" saga, starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, as well as a new take on "Fantastic Four" starring Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Miles Teller and Jamie Bell. And if you still can't get the "Cups" song out of your head, you're in luck -- "Pitch Perfect 2" bows in May, with Elizabeth Banks stepping in as director alongside returning stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Skyler Astin (plus cast newcomers Hailee Steinfeld and and Katey Sagal) as the Barden Bellas seek redemption at an international a capella competition.

"Even though it is a big franchise and a sequel, it's a unique movie in that it's the only female-driven comedy franchise around these days," said Karger. "We did a survey and 'Pitch Perfect 2' was the No. 1 most anticipated comedy of the summer from our Fandango fans -- that's more than 'Entourage,' more than 'Ted 2,' so I think there's something to be said for the really strong draw of the 'Pitch Perfect' movies."

Other highlights? Chris Pratt -- star of last summer's blockbuster "Guardians of the Galaxy" -- trades space for the dinosaurs of "Jurassic World," Paul Rudd enters the Marvel movie universe as the titular "Ant-Man" and George Clooney as one of the stars of Disney's futuristic adventure "Tomorrowland."

If superheroes and big franchises aren't your thing, fear not -- there are movies coming for you, too. The quirky teen romance "Paper Towns," starring Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne, comes from the same author who penned last summer's tearjerker "The Fault in Our Stars." The cute little yellow guys from "Despicable Me" get their own film, "Minions," and Pixar is releasing "Inside Out," its first film in two years and one that is getting strong early buzz.

All in all, expect this summer's box office take to leave last year's sluggish one in the dust. "Last summer was disappointing on a lot of levels," said Karger. "This summer is going to have many, many films that out-gross even the top grossing movies from last year."

But even with names like "Jurassic," "Mission: Impossible" and "Avengers" in the mix, it's hard not to feel like this summer is really just the appetizer to 2015's movie main course -- a holiday movie season that includes the final "Hunger Games" film and the highly anticipated "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

"The end of the year has this one-two punch of mega movies," Karger added. "That's why 2015 is just going to be massive."

For a closer look at this summer's slate, click through the gallery above for more information on the movies and their release dates.

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