Image for movie Iron Man
Image for movie Iron Man - 
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Scott Jagow: If the Christmas shopping season can begin in September, then I guess the summer movie season can start on May 1st. The first blockbuster-type film comes out today. Hollywood could use a summer hit -- or 10. Lisa Napoli has more.

Lisa Napoli: Expectations are high for the comic-turned-movie superhero "Iron Man," which starts playing tonight in theaters. Movie attendance is down 6 percent from this time last year, but Hollywood watchers blame that slip on bad flicks, not the bad economy. In fact, says Patrick Corcoran of the National Association of Theater Owners, a bad economy can be good for the Silver Screen.

Patrick Corcoran: Going back to about 1965, there have been seven recession years, and in five of them both box office and admissions went up. I think it's because movies are the least expensive form of out-of-home entertainment.

And since going on vacation this summer, even in your car, could require a bank loan you can't even get. Corcoran says movies are expecting a bump in ticket sales. Some say "Iron Man" could bring in $80 million by the end of the weekend.

In Los Angeles, I'm Lisa Napoli For Marketplace.