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4 YEARS

'Avengers,' 'Piranha 3DD' Begin Production

Joss Whedon's all-star "Avengers" hits theaters next year, while the "Piranha 3D" sequel is set for a November release.

Two films began production Monday. Pick which one you can't wait for.

Marvel Studios' The Avengers, with its all-star cast, began production in New Mexico. Director Joss Whedon -- who is one of geekdom's heralds --  actually gave fans a heads up on his site Sunday night in his typical humorous fashion:

Tomorrow we start shooting (I THINK I'm legally permitted to say that). Day one. That's right. We'll be shooting the pivotal death/betrayal/product placement/setting up the sequel/coming out scene, at the following address:

[Marvel Lawyers rush in, take Joss's keyboard, blowtorch a picture of his family like in "Stormy Monday," drink his milkshake, leave the seat up, fluff his pillows, violently unfluff his pillows, leave]

Went too far. My bad. Anyhoo, it should be a fun day, followed by the eighty thousand other fun days it will take to finish this.

For more, including a reference to the Distinguished Competition, check here.

The Avengers, by the way, will hit theaters May 4, 2012.

Many time zones away, in Wilmington, N.C., Dimension began production on Piranha 3DD, its sequel to the last year's campy remake of the Roger Corman horror movie that has rebooted a franchise. (Everybody following that? Good.)

Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies), Matt Bush (Adventureland), Chris Zylka (The Amazing Spider-Man) and David Koechner (Paul) are among the bigger names in the cast of fresh meat for the killer fish movie.

The movie, being directed by John Gulager, is in for a quick turnaround: The release date is set for Nov. 23, 2011.