A tweet from Production Weekly reports that Thor will bring down the hammer real soon. According to them, the film is to begin shooting in LA in mid-January (we assume for studio work.) The production will then move to Santa Fe, NM in March up into late April, where principal photography should be wrapped.
It seems that the Avengers blitz will soon take one more step towards realization. With its May 20, 2011 release date, Thor will be followed by First Avenger: Captain America on July 22, followed by May 4, 2012's release of the granddaddy of them all, the groundbreaking, precedence-shattering movie crossover event The Avengers. The artisitic and financial success of each of these movies could hinge on the success of the ones that precede it.
It all starts with the release of Iron Man 2 on May 7, 2010. Of course, the film is guaranteed to be a mega-hit. In fact, it could end up being a 5-minute documentary on badger poop and it would still rake-in huge opening numbers. However, much like the case of Transformers 2, huge box-office numbers do not necessarily make an artistic success. So I think there's a strong possibility that the Transformers franchise may lose a lot of its momentum going into its (guaranteed) upcoming third effort. Now, try to imagine if it had held the weight of THREE distinct spin-off franchises? You might be a bit worried if you were deeply invested.
So the films may share a symbiotic relationship. If Iron Man 2 (which, make no mistake, will generate like a hundred-billion-gagillion dollars,) ends up creatively impotent, it would damage the franchise, which could affect Thor's chances. It's going to take a lot of on-screen pizazz to get the average moviegoer to be excited for some Norse God in some fantasy land, sporting a wing-tipped hat. Momentum from a seriously kick-ass Iron Man 2 would not only help, but may end up being integral.
It's a good thing that director Kenneth Branagh will have a solid year (thanks to a date push) to piece this baby together in a way that might accommodate the movie-going atmosphere in the aftermath of Iron Man 2's release. Even if Thor fails to pull in the kind of money Iron Man 2 will clearly reap, its status as a potential creative success would linger on in the form of Avengers-related buzz going into that summer's Captain America film. Eventually, it all cycles to the big one in 2012.
Make no mistake, once the word "action" is uttered for the first time on Kenneth Branagh's Thor set, it may be the point of no return for MANY MANY MILLIONS of dollars that Disney/Marvel will have invested in not just this, but three mega films to follow in Iron Man 2's wake. No pressure, right?