The holidays have always been a popular time for checking out a new movie. It’s an easy way to come up with an activity for the entire family once all the presents have been opened.
There are nine new movies scheduled to open between now and Dec. 25. They go along with the “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” that opened Tuesday night, Dec. 16, and the recently opened “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and “Top Five.”
Dan Tocchini, president and chief executive officer, Santa Rosa Entertainment Group, owners of the Sierra Vista Cinemas 16 in Clovis, says that the increase in movie attendance in the summer and at Christmas are about the same.
“We always see a flood of new movies when kids are out of school,” Tocchini says.
He adds that this year’s selection of movies opening for the Christmas holiday is a wider variety than theaters normally see this time of the year.
That broad selection starts Friday, Dec. 19, with the release of two family friendly movies, “Annie” and “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.” “Annie” is an updated version of the much-loved musical, while “Night at the Museum” is the third offering in the comedy starring Ben Stiller about museum displays that come to life.
Also scheduled to hit theaters is “Wild,” the tale of a woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike that has earned star Reese Witherspoon a Golden Globe nomination.
Six more movies are schedule to open Dec. 24, including another film adaptation of a Broadway production. Meryl Streep stars in the Stephen Sondheim musical “Into the Woods.” It’s a mashup of fairytale stories, including “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Cinderella.”
Two films opening are based on real stories that unfolded during World War II —“Unbroken” and “The Imitation Game.”
Angelina Jolie directed “Unbroken,” the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who became a prisoner of war during World War II. “The Imitation Game” looks at the efforts by the British to break the German’s unbreakable code machine.
“Big Eyes,” the latest film from director Tim Burton, is also based on a true story. Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) became an artistic success in the 1950s with her paintings of children with huge eyes. Her success was tainted by legal battles with her husband (Christoph Waltz) who claimed to have created the paintings.
Rounding out the releases is the more adult-oriented “The Gambler,” which stars Mark Wahlberg as a college professor whose gambling and infidelity gets him in trouble with a loan shark.
Sony has canceled the opening of the controversial “The Interview,” which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco. They play guys behind a celebrity tabloid TV show recruited to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Be sure to check the Fresno Bee website at fresnobee.eventsabout.com/movies.aspx for movie times and theaters.