The books have barely closed on summer 2007 and already next summer's calendar is filling up fast with strong Hollywood product.

While this year distributors benefited from a lack of major sporting events, 2008 presents hurdles such as the Summer Olympics, which start in Beijing on August 8, and the European Football Championships which take place in June. Snagging summer dates early is critical.

So far, May and early June are the hotspots. Next summer is set to start with Paramount's comic-book adaptation Iron Man, which opens day-and-date on May 1, mirroring 2007's Spider-Man 3 kick-starter.

The first six weeks will then see the roll-out of sequels and spin-offs - Fox's The Day The Earth Stood Still will go head-to-head with Warner Bros' Speed Racer in the US on May 9 while Disney and Walden Media's The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian opens in the US on the following weekend.

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull stands alone on its May 22 opening in the US (Memorial Day weekend). Additional openings for event movies follow into early summer such as Fox's Starship Dave, starring Eddie Murphy, the Dreamworks/Paramount animation Kung Fu Panda and Universal's The Incredible Hulk.

Fox's co-president, Tomas Jegeus, says summer 2008 is going to be 'an interesting one'.

While 2007 saw an increase on the amount of films released - around seven were released each week in the US alone - this momentum looks set to continue next summer, despite an obvious absence of previously successful franchises such as Harry Potter and Pirates Of The Caribbean.

'There are more films being released than ever before,' says Jegeus. 'All films are fighting for release dates. That's why, for 2008, we have to do what we do best as a studio: big event movies and more targeted films for a specific audience.'

2008 Calendar

May 1 - Iron Man (Paramount Pictures) This Marvel Comics adaptationlooks set to kick-start the summer with a bang. Robert Downey Jr starsas Tony Stark, a man who turns into a superhero after a near-deathaccident in Afghanistan. Gwyneth Paltrow and Terrence Howard also star.

May 2 - Made Of Honor (Sony Pictures) Romantic comedy starring Patrick Dempsey (heart-throb on hit US TV series Grey's Anatomy) provides a good counter-programmer to Iron Man.Dempsey plays a serial dater who falls for his best friend after sheasks him to be her 'maid of honour'. It will see a staggered releaseworldwide.

May 9 - The Day The Earth Stood Still (20th Century Fox)

Director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism Of Emily Rose)remakes the 1951 sci-fi classic about an alien and his robot who landon Earth to warn the human race of an impending danger on the planet.Cast yet to be confirmed but likely to be a day-and-date release.

May 9 - Speed Racer (Warner Bros)

This spin-off of a Japanese animation TV series about a young racecar driver sees Andy and Larry Wachowski back in the directors' chairsfor the first time since The Matrix films. Starring Emile Hirsch (Alpha Dog) and Christina Ricci.

May 16 - The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Walt Disney Studios)

Disney and Walden Media release the second instalment of the Narniaseries in early summertime, countering its December 2006 release of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, which went on to gross $744.7m worldwide. It will see a staggered international release.

May 23 - Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (Paramount Pictures)

Nearly two decades after the last Indy adventure, Steven Spielberg brings Transformersstar Shia LaBeouf and Cate Blanchett to Harrison Ford's side inarguably the most highly anticipated film of 2008. It will releaseday-and-date worldwide.

May 30 - Starship Dave (20th Century Fox)

Eddie Murphy stars in this sci-fi comedy as a human spaceship whocarries a crew of miniature aliens in their bid to save a doomed world.As Murphy's last five films have grossed over $1bn worldwide, this hasthe potential to generate some big numbers at the box office.

June 6 - Kung Fu Panda (DreamWorks/Paramount Pictures)

DreamWorks' 2008 offering sees Po the Panda take on enemies to savehis beloved habitat. With the voices of Jack Black, Jackie Chan, DustinHoffman and Angelina Jolie, it will follow Shrek The Third's staggered release pattern.

June 13 - The Incredible Hulk (Universal Pictures)

Universal releases its second adaptation of the green man in fiveyears, this time starring Ed Norton and Liv Tyler. A mid-June releasehopes to see it pass the global $245m that its predecessor, The Hulk,made in 2003.

June 20 - Get Smart (Warner Bros)

Steve Carell stars as secret agent Maxwell Smart in the adaptationof Mel Brooks' hit 1960's US comedy TV series. Paramount is staggeringthe international release around the European Championships in hopes totarget a more global audience.

June 27 - Wall-E (Walt Disney Studios)

Pixar Animation offer a CGI-animated feature about a robot in the year 2700. It is directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, A Bug's Life) and likely to see a staggered release.

July 2 - Hancock (Sony Pictures)

Will Smith's past three July 4 blockbusters generated over $747mworldwide. In this action flick, he stars as a fallen superhero whotries to win back his adulation from the public. It releasesday-and-date for 80% of territories on the July 4 weekend.

July 11 - Tropic Thunder (Paramount Pictures)

Ben Stiller directs and stars alongside Jack Black, Bill Hader andRobert Downey Jr in this comedy about a group of actors playingsoldiers who end up fighting in a real war.

July 18 - The Dark Knight (Warner Bros)

Christian Bale returns to Gotham City as Batman to fight originalmenace The Joker, played by Heath Ledger. This is the second Batmanfilm to be directed by Christopher Nolan - Batman Begins took $372mworldwide after its June 2005 release.

August 1 - The Mummy: Emperor Of The Dragon (Universal Pictures)

The third instalment of The Mummy brings in Jet Li and Michelle Yeohas a mummy is unearthed in the Far East. The last two films havegenerated $848m globally so this film will push the franchise well pastthe $1bn mark despite its late summer release.

August 1 - South Of The Border (Walt Disney Studios)

Drew Barrymore provides the voice for Chloe, a Beverly Hillschihuahua that gets lost in Mexico. Salma Hayek, Jamie Lee Curtis andAndy Garcia also star.

Listings based on North American release dates. Correct at time of going to press.