There’s no official nationwide re-release of a Christmas classic planned this year, but instead cinemas are programming a lot of event cinema, such as livestream operas and ballets from swanky, big-city venues. The most seasonal is “The Nutcracker,” from the Royal Opera House on December 8. There’s also “Madame Butterfly” from the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on December 7 and Karija Saariaha’s medieval romance “Love from Afar” from the Met in New York on December 10.
In the Lowcountry, Cinemark Bluffton 12 listed screening of the Metropolitan Opera: "L’Amour de Loin," Saturday, December 10 and an encore presentation Wednesday, December 14.
Coming to local theaters this month:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story PG-13 | Director Gareth Edwards
The Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star. The second installment, in what will now be annual seasonal releases of the space series, is one of the “anthology” story lines, which means it takes place in the Star Wars universe. However, your favorite characters probably won’t be featured. Still, hopes are high for what will undoubtedly be the biggest movie of the holidays. Felicity Jones and Diego Luna star as Rebel Alliance fighters, while Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker and Ben Mendelsohn co-star—the latter as the formidably named and titled Orson Krennic: Director of Advanced Weapons Research for the Imperial Military. Trailers show Mendelsohn wearing a very sinister cloak.
Release Date: December 16
Office Christmas Party R | Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck
When an uptight CEO sister threatens to shut down her brother’s branch office, the branch manager throws an epic Christmas party to land a big client and save the day. Here’s a movie for those whom the Christmas season means a secret Santa, huge quantities of eggnog and illicit snogging with colleagues at the annual bash. Jennifer Aniston stars as a ball-busting CEO trying to close an office branch. The cast list reads like a roll call of current comedy favorites: Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller, Jillian Bell, Rob Corddry and Kate McKinnon.
Release Date: December 9
PASSENGERS PG-13 | Directed by Morten Tyldum
A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of passengers has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. Thus, two handsome passengers wake up 90 years too early. Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt take the lead in this eagerly awaited sci-fi outing. In this whopping romantic epic, set on a spaceship, Lawrence and Pratt play two people accidentally freed from their hibernation pods 30 years into a 120-year journey to set up life on a distant planet. They then find the pod malfunction isn’t the ship’s only problem and they—plus a robot bartender played by Michael Sheen—are the only ones who might be able to save themselves and the 5,000 other people slumbering on board.
Release Date: December 23
Collateral Beauty PG-13 | Directed by David Frankel
Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing letters to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers he begins to see how they interlock. Here’s a film to help you through those dark days between Christmas and New Year. Will Smith plays a New York advertising executive, who is deeply depressed after a personal tragedy. His friends, including Kate Winslet, cook up a scheme to try to help him through it. In the absence of an actual remake of It’s a Wonderful Life, or, even A Christmas Carol, Collateral Beauty will be your go-to movie for feel-good seasonal cheer!
Release Date: December 26