The Christmas holiday has become one of the most important movie release dates of the year. Hollywood frequently releases big crowd-pleasing films and blatant Oscar bait on Christmas Day, and this year is no exception.
While families who celebrate Christmas might wait until they’ve unwrapped their presents to head to the movies, others have a whole day off from work and school that they can use to see the latest movies. Whatever your tradition, if you’re looking for a flick to see Friday, there’s almost certain to be something that strikes your fancy. From Oscar hopefuls to action-packed crowd pleasers to family comedies, here are the best movies premiering Christmas Day.
“The Revenant” -- Leonardo DiCaprio stars in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest film, which tells the story of a 19th century fur trapper who seeks revenge against the companions who robbed him and left him for dead after a vicious grizzly bear attack. The trailers look intense, and this movie could give DiCaprio yet another shot at his long out-of-reach Oscar.
“The Hateful Eight” -- Quentin Tarantino returns with his new take on a Western set shortly after the American Civil War. Starring Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson and Walton Goggins, the ensemble cast gets stuck in a stagecoach house during a blizzard. Based on the trailers and Tarantino’s signature style, fans can likely expect a plenty of violence, comedy and plot twists to keep them on the edge of their seats.
“Joy” -- David O. Russell reunites with Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper in this biopic of entrepreneur Joy Mangano, a divorced mother of two who risked her life's savings to produce and market her invention, the Miracle Mop. When her invention becomes a hit in the television shopping world, she gets pulled into the spotlight and must deal with her complicated family. A sure-fire Oscar contender.
“Concussion” -- The drama about how a doctor’s research helped uncover the brain damage football players can endure after multiple concussions has received significant attention leading up to its release. While the film depicts efforts by the National Football League to cover up its concussion problem, its marketing has been careful not to overly antagonize the NFL. Still, with a star as big as Will Smith, the movie is sure to stir up more controversy once millions of Americans see the dark side of their favorite sport.
“The Danish Girl” -- Starring Eddie Redmayne, this love story was inspired by the lives of the artist couple Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. The pair’s marriage and work change as they navigate Lili's journey as a transgender pioneer, attempting the first-ever male to female sex reassignment surgery.
“Daddy’s Home” -- Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg team up in this movie about a meek radio executive aiming to be a great stepfather, whose efforts are thwarted when his wife's cheap ex-husband comes back into their lives. This is probably a good choice if you’re looking for a light, funny movie that family members with different tastes can tolerably enjoy.
“Point Break” -- In this remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 hit, a young FBI agent infiltrates a team of extreme sports athletes he believes are plotting a string of unprecedented, sophisticated corporate heists. If you’re looking for an action movie on Christmas Day, this should do the trick.
“Yellow Day” -- A faith-based story that focuses on a man’s fun day celebrating outreach at a kid's camp, the film also “becomes an imaginative adventure: showing him true heroes, challenging him to face his fears, find love, and inviting him to accept grace, so that he can be shaped into who he is meant to be,” according to the summary on the its IMDb page.
While these movies are all premiering on Christmas Day, most theaters will also offer options that come out before the actual holiday. Other titles to consider including in your post-presents viewing are: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Sisters,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip,” “45 Years” and “The Big Short.”