Once the presents are unwrapped, the chestnuts cracked open, and the eggnog quaffed, holiday merrymakers head to the movies.
The holiday movie season used to be secondary to the summer, when escapist blockbusters awaited kids who just got out of school. But in recent years, filmmakers have mined lucrative box office gold over the holiday season, taking advantage of students’ time off as well as those on vacation over the holidays.
24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of movies set to debut Dec. 15 through the end of the year, drawing on sources such as Internet Movie Database, Rotten Tomatoes, Movie Insider, and Box Office Mojo. Release dates can be changed and some movies may be delayed to a later date.
Last year, total box office gross for the holiday season — defined by Box Office Mojo as the first Friday in November through New Year’s week or weekend — totaled $2.88 billion. “Rogue One” was the biggest hit in 2016, posting ticket sales of $532.2 million. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is the most lucrative holiday movie ever, grossing $936.7 million in the 2015 holiday season. That film accounted for 32.9% of the total box office gross during the 2015 holiday season, the highest percentage of any holiday movie since 1982, based on Box Office Mojo statistics.
Movie studios have taken the opportunity to show over the holidays remakes, sequels, and spinoffs, along with films they deem worthy of Academy Award consideration. Films that debut in November and December give those movies a late-in-the-year visibility when the Academy selects its nominees in late January.
The proliferation of film-award events leading up to the Oscars in early March has added pressure on studios to open movies over the holiday season. This period, along with the summer season, is the busiest time of the year for the industry.
Film companies also want to get people to the theater before the worst weather of the season hits the colder regions of the country and prevents cinema-goers from getting to the movie house. Also, the studios want to avoid competing against the NFL playoffs, which begin after Jan. 1.
This holiday season, there is vast selection of films for cinema-goers to choose from. Virtually every genre is represented: drama, comedy, westerns, science fiction, action, fantasy, animation, and romance.
The 2017 offerings also feature a variety of actors, from some of the greatest stars of all time to performers who cut their teeth on television and are now trying out their luck on the big screen.
Here are some of the films you may hope to find in your Christmas stocking this holiday season.