It’s Christmas week, one of the biggest movie release periods of the year – if not THE biggest – as the Studios not only unveil blockbuster titles in an attempt to lure families out of their holiday festivities, but also prestige pictures looking for awards gold in the upcoming months. This year is no exception.
While there are many great titles opening this weekend, the most anticipated is the limited release of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (The Weinstein Company) which begins an exclusive 70mm Roadshow engagement on about 100 screens. This presentation is the one Quentin wants you to see – on film, via a big screen format. He used cameras that haven’t been used in decades (I believe they were the cameras used to shoot Ben-Hur). This Roadshow version is also about 20 minutes longer than the one that will hit regular multiplexes next month, so this is the version to see for sure.
Also making its way onto the award’s circuit is The Revenant (20th Century Fox) directed by last year’s Best Director Oscar Winner Alejandro González Iñárritu and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. The film opens on a handful of screens for Oscar consideration before it is set to expand to wide release on January 8.
While Disney’s Christmas will be filled with much holiday cheer thanks to Star Wars: The Force Awakens which is sure to keep dominating the box office for some time, there are a number of other movies opening in wide release to try and pry some audience eyes away from the sci-fi epic. Columbia pictures has Concussion starring Will Smith as the doctor who exposed the issue of brain damage in Football players who suffer repeated concussions from their very violent sport. Smith has a lot of Oscar buzz around him for this, as does Jennifer Lawrence for Joy, David O. Russell’s new film from Fox 2000. Joy also stars Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper and Virginia Madsen and Isabella Rossellini.
On the not-so-awards-friendly front is Daddy’s Home (Paramount), a comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as Step-Dad and Dad (respectively) battling it out for the affection of the children caught between them. Wahlberg is cool, Ferrell is not and hilarity ensues.
Point Break (Warner Bros.) gets a 2015 remake with Luke Bracey, Delroy Lindo, Teresa Palmer, Edgar Ramirez and Ray Winstone replacing surfers Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze from Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 film. This time the bad guys are extreme sports enthusiasts who pull off elaborate corporate heists. No ex-Presidents here.
Expanding from a limited run is The Big Short (Paramount) with an all-star cast that includes Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling as a group that take on the big banks following the Housing Bubble financial crisis of 2008.
Rounding out the list are 45 Years from Sundance Selects starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, along with Drew Seeley and Lindsey Shaw in the faith-based Yellow Day, both in limited release.
A full list of this week’s releases follows. *
In Wide Release:
CONCUSSION (Sony / Columbia)
JOY (Fox 2000)
DADDY’S HOME (Paramount)
POINT BREAK (Warner Bros.)
THE BIG SHORT (Paramount) – Expanding from limited run
In Limited Release:
THE HATEFUL EIGHT – 70mm Roadshow (The Weinstein Company)
THE REVENANT (20th Century Fox)
45 YEARS (Sundance Selects)
YELLOW DAY (Providence Film Partners)
* Titles and release information are subject to change without notice.