11 Holiday-Season Movies We’re Excited About

Welcome to a few weeks of mega movie releases

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Mark Pokorny / Warner Bros.

Sure, the holidays are about family, giving, all that jazz — but every film buff knows that the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is also prime time at the movie theater.

As studios roll out their best fare, hoping to capitalize on multiple long weekends or the last chance to qualify for the year’s awards, the offerings can be overwhelming.

But don’t worry: all you have to do is see one of these movies every Saturday and another one every Sunday, plus one on Christmas day, and you’ll be all caught up by the beginning of next year.


Out of the Furnace

Release Date: Dec. 6

Starring: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana

Why We’re Excited: Nothing says “gritty drama” like Bale, Affleck and the Rust Belt.


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Release Date: Dec. 13

Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch

Why We’re Excited: We’re in this Hobbit thing for the long haul—and by now it’s not the holiday season without a little on-screen Tolkien.

(MOREYou Can Now Explore Middle-earth on Google Maps)


American Hustle

Release Date: Dec. 18 (Dec. 13 limited)

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence

Why We’re Excited: It’s Argo meets Silver Linings Playbook, complete with the latter’s director and much of its chemistry-heavy cast.


Saving Mr. Banks

Release Date: Dec. 20 (Dec. 13 limited)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson

Why We’re Excited: The making of Disney’s Mary Poppins gets the full historical treatment, giving audiences a new way to look at an old favorite.

(MOREExclusive First Look: Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks)


Inside Llewyn Davis

Release Date: Dec. 20 (Dec. 6 limited)

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake

Why We’re Excited: The Coen Brothers work their words-and-music magic — as seen in O Brother, Where Art Thou? — on a vision of the folk scene in pre-Dylan Greenwich Village.


Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Release Date: Dec. 20

Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd

Why We’re Excited: We still love lamp.

(MOREYou Stay Classy, Emerson: College to Establish Ron Burgundy School of Communication)


August: Osage County

Release Date: Dec. 25

Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin

Why We’re Excited: This adaptation of the acclaimed play, packed with star power, is sure to be an awards-season heavyweight.


Labor Day

Release Date: Dec. 27, limited

Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin

Why We’re Excited: Writer-director Jason Reitman is best known for wry fare like Juno and Thank You for Smoking, but this darker adaptation of a Joyce Maynard novel has won praise from early viewers.


The Wolf of Wall Street

Release Date: Dec. 25

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jon Favreau, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill

Why We’re Excited: DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese have teamed up again, this time for the based-on-a-true story of finance-world excess and wrong-doing.

(MOREWolf of Wall Street Ruins Hollywood’s Christmas Plans)


Grudge Match

Release Date: Dec. 25

Starring: Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone

Why We’re Excited: There’s no need to go back and re-watch Rocky when you can see Sly Stallone duke it out in a brand new ode to boxing and legendary men.


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Release Date: Dec. 25

Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott

Why We’re Excited: This take on the classic James Thurber story goes one further, allowing the iconic daydreamer to actually have a few adventures—and it’s perfect fodder to meditate on as you think up a New Year’s resolution.