Christmas is always a fantastic time for big movie releases and 2017 is sure to be no exception. Last year, Bad Santa was back and had his mean mother in tow. There were fantastical creatures from the pen of Harry Potter’s creator and a delicious helping of Star Wars. Here we have film news and UK release dates for the 2017 festive season.

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Movie News

Star Wars has become a Christmas tradition. The original trilogy was already etched into the festive memories of the How to Christmas posse, with each movie making its TV premiere at Christmas – and being repeated time and again in holiday seasons that followed. Or is that just how we want to remember it, like it always raining on Good Friday, the sun always shining on Easter Day and it always snowing in the build up to Christmas? We all shared that childhood, right?

When the newest incarnation of Star Wars films returned to the big screen in winter 2015, a new Christmas tradition was born. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and upcoming “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” were all given mid-December release dates. Happy Star Wars Christmas everyone! Put a lightsaber in my stocking, why don’t you? And dangle Darth’s baubles from my tree while you’re at it.

Alas, the tradition is about to end with the news that “Star Wars: Episode IX” will now be released in May 2019 and not December that year. The Han Solo movie is also due a May release date 2018. Star Wars and Christmas not so forever entwined after all. Better make the most of this year’s Last Jedi gift.

Disney’s full release schedule did give us some festive cheer, however. “Star Wars: the Last Jedi” has a confirmed release date of December 15 this year, “Mary Poppins Returns” starring Emily Blunt will premiere on Christmas Day 2018 and “Frozen 2” will arrive in cinemas on November 27, 2019.

Movie Releases 2017

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

UK Release Date: December 15, 2017

Star Wars and Christmas: together again, one last time. With the 2019 film “Star Wars: Episode IX” now due for release in May 2019 and not December of that year, Star Wars fans will have to make the most of this present and cherish its unwrapping. Rian Johnson directs the second of this latest trilogy in the blockbuster series, with British duo Daisy Ridley and John Boyega headlining again as Rey and Finn. Mark Hamill returns as Luke Skywalker and the late, great Carrie Fisher is also back as Leia. She filmed her scenes before her tragic death in 2016.

“The Man Who Invented Christmas”

UK Release Date: December 1, 2017

Dan Stevens stars as Victorian author Charles Dickens, the man commonly believed to have revived and re-established many Christmas traditions. His Christmas books lay at the heart of this revival – the most famous and beloved of which is “A Christmas Carol”. This film splendidly and humorously captures a time in 1843 when Dickens set out to write and self-publish a novel he hoped would reinvigorate his career. He spends six weeks trying to bring Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and various ghosts to life and gets rather more than he bargained for. Christopher Plummer and Jonathan Pryce are among the splendid cast. The US release date is expected to be November 22, just in time for Thanksgiving.

“A Bad Moms Christmas”

UK Release Date: November 3, 2017

As if the pressures of providing a perfect Christmas for their families wasn’t already stressful and demanding enough for three American mums, this festive season they will have to face their own particular challenges delivered by the visits of their respective mothers. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn play the three “moms” and their mothers are portrayed by Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon. The most wonderful time of the year? Not exactly for this bunch, but it comes with adult laughs aplenty for the audience. This sequel follows the huge success of the 2016 “Bad Moms” movie that made around 180 million dollars worldwide. It also premieres in the USA on November 3.

“The Snowman”

UK Release Date: October 13, 2017

A film entitled “The Snowman” and not a strain of “Walking in the Air” to be heard. This is an entirely different offering from the beloved animation: in effect it’s a crime thriller horror. It stars Michael Fassbender as an elite crime squad’s lead detective, who investigates a disappearance in the first snow of winter. Could an elusive serial killer be at large again? Universal Pictures will release this film in the UK on October 13 and in the USA a week later.

“Murder on the Orient Express”

UK Release Date: November 3, 2017

In our books, there’s no beating a good Agatha Christie story at Christmas. Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in the latest screen version of her 1934 novel “Murder on the Orient Express”. Branagh plays Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, as Albert Finney admirably did before him on the big screen and David Suchet did so marvellously on the small screen. Johnny Depp is the movie baddie, appearing as the evil Ratchett. Is there a train passenger that doesn’t have it in for him? These Christie classics are invariably star-spangled and this cast is truly stellar: Dame Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad and Sir Derek Jacobi all play splendid supporting roles. The film will be released in the USA a week later than the UK.

“Paddington 2”

UK Release date: November 10, 2017

The sequel to 2014’s “Paddington” sees the adorable bear undertake odd jobs in order to buy a unique pop-up book from an antique shop to give Aunt Lucy for her 100th birthday. When the book is stolen, Paddington and the Browns take up the case – with comedic consequences. Ben Whishaw voices Paddington and brilliantly brings him to life, while Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins return as Henry and Mary Brown. British treasure Dame Julie Walters is also back as Mrs. Bird, while Hugh Grant is Phoenix Buchanan, a faded, narcissistic actor. “Paddington” was a huge hit and we have long recommended it make your festive movie collection. Hopefully, the sequel will maintain the high standard. There’s already a third instalment in the pipeline.

“The Greatest Showman”

UK Release date: January 1, 2018

The title character is P.T. Barnum, creator of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. This great showman is played by Hugh Jackman in an extravaganza of a musical drama. Zac Effron, Michelle Williams and Rebecca Ferguson also star. The movie has a Christmas Day release date in the USA and opens in the UK a week later, on New Year’s Day.

“Daddy’s Home 2”

UK Release Date: November 22, 2017

Brad and Dusty are back – and this time they have their own fathers to contend with over the Christmas holidays. In “Daddy’s Home” – a big box office hit in 2015 – Will Ferrell’s character Brad had to overcome his inferiority complex and the macho posturing of his wife’s ex-husband Dusty, as splendidly portrayed by Mark Wahlberg, to win over his step-children. Having reached some level of harmony – “Daddy’s Home 2” sees Dusty’s old-school father (Mel Gibson) and Brad’s gentle, loving dad (John Lithgow) arrive to deliver contrasting ingredients to the festivities.

“The Star”

USA Release Date: November 17, 2017

Bo the donkey, Ruth the sheep and Dave the dove are at the heart of this animated film that tells how they follow the star and become the accidental heroes of the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas. There are three camels and a stable-full of eccentric animals to add to the mix, with voice talent provided by such stars as singer Kelly Clarkson, Oprah Winfrey, Patricia Heaton, Christopher Plummer, Kris Kristofferson, Ving Rhames and Tyler Perry.

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”

UK Release Date: December 20, 2017

Robin Williams starred as Alan Parrish in the first “Jumanji” more than two decades ago, when a magical board game unleashed all manner of excitement, fear and adventure on two siblings played by Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce. This follow-up stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black. Four high school children discover an old video game console and are drawn into the game’s jungle setting. What they discover is that you don’t just play Jumanji – you must survive it. To beat the game and return to the real world, they must embark on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Parrish left 20 years ago and change the way they think about themselves – or they’ll be stuck in the game forever.

“Nightmare on 34th Street”

We have seen the delightful and timeless “Miracle on 34th Street” and its mysterious Kris Kringle. This 34th Street Santa is equally mysterious, but brings with him altogether more horrifying winter tales that may challenge how you view Christmas. It’s “Tales of the Crypt” meets “Pulp Fiction”. Written and directed by James Crow, this is a direct to DVD autumn release with a cast that includes Lucy Pinder, Caroline Boulton and Petra Bryant.