Christmas is always a fantastic time for big movie releases and 2019 will be no exception. Star Wars is back and so, too, is the sequel to a Disney smash hit for the ages. Here we have the film news and releases to keep us engrossed through the next festive season.
Star Wars & Christmas
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 the 2017 release “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.
The tradition appears set to continue in 2019 with the news that “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” will be released in December after all. It had been slated for a May release, only to be pushed back to a traditional festive slot.
And there’s more, with news that three more Star Wars films – along with four Avatar sequels – will be coming to cinemas in the coming years.
After “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” there will be a three-year gap before the start of the next trilogy. The long-awaited Avatar sequel has been pushed back again to 2021. Therefore, the releases of the four Avatar and three Star Wars films will alternate, with one delivered every Christmas between 2021 and 2027.
Star Wars Release Dates
20th December 2019 – “The Rise of Skywalker”
16th December 2022 – Untitled
20th December 2024 – Untitled
18th December 2026 – Untitled
Avatar Release Dates
17th December 2021 – Avatar 2
22nd December 2023 – Avatar 3
19th December 2025 – Avatar 4
17th December 2027 – Avatar 5
“Sherlock Holmes 3”, starring Robert Downey Jr in the title role and Jude Law as Dr Watson, is to have a Christmas 2020 release. The first two films in the franchise, from 2009 and 2011, made a combined one billion dollars-plus. Guy Ritchie directed the first two movies but a director for the third instalment has yet to be announced.
The USA’s Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries will unveil as many as thirty new Christmas movies for 2019.
Christmas Day is the release date in the USA of a new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel “Little Women”, starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothee Chalamet, Meryl Streep, Laura Dern and James Norton. The film will premiere in the UK early in the New Year (January 17, 2020). The story captures a special, touching and selfless Christmas scene that’s a perennial highlight of this treasured classic.
US television channel Lifetime has ordered a personal best 28 new Christmas films for this festive season – surpassing its record total off 18 in 2018. Two of the new movies see the return to Lifetime of Melissa Joan Hart and Tia Mowry-Hardrict. Hart has been cast in “Christmas Reservations”, while Mowry-Hardrict will star in “A Very Vintage Christmas”.
The Sony Movies Christmas TV channel launches early in the UK this year. Previously known as True Christmas, the 24/7 festive film channel will open for yuletide business on September 10 and show nothing but Christmas fayre through until January 2020. Sony premieres include “Holiday Road Trip”, “Silver Bells” and “Christmas With the Kranks”, starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. Sony Movies Christmas will have themed weekends, including Bah Humbug and Christmas Animals, as well as Christmas comedy nights.
Netflix Original Christmas Movies
In 2018, Kurt Russell played one of the coolest Santas you’re ever likely to see in the Netflix movie “The Christmas Chronicles”. It was a festive favourite for us at How to Christmas. Look out for more original Christmas movies from Netflix in 2019, including:
“A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby” – A baby is on the way in the invented monarchy of Aldovia….and it might just be in time for Christmas.
“The Knight Before Christmas” – Following last year’s film “The Princess Switch”, Vanessa Hudgens returns to Netflix in this seasonal romance involving…wait for it…a time-travelling Medieval knight.
“Klaus” – This is a new animated version about Santa Claus’s origins from the writer & director of the brilliant “Despicable Me”. Voice talent is provided by the likes of Jason Schwartzman, JK Simmons and Rashida Jones.
Movie Releases 2019
Release Date: September 13, 2019
The staggeringly successful television series hits the big screen in September 2019. The show was always a major hit for ITV on Christmas night in the UK and we fully expect the film could run well into the build up to Christmas 2019, thus its inclusion here. Downton favourites Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery and Hugh Bonneville will reprise their telly roles. We can hardly wait.
Release Date: November 22, 2019
Just when we thought we could let it go, “Frozen” returns for a delicious second helping. The Disney animation broke all kinds of box office records and the sequel could follow suit.We will witness the next chapter in the lives of Anna, Kristoff and Olaf…but the biggest change will be reserved for Elsa. We are officially intrigued. The film is launched in time for the Thanksgiving holidays stateside.
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
Release Date: December 19, 2019
Episode 9 in the Star Wars collection was once scheduled for a May release in the USA and UK, but has now been pushed back to Star Wars’ traditional Christmas release window, giving director JJ Abrams more time to finesse the last film in this new trilogy. In the UK the movie is set to open a day before the USA. Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Anthony Daniels (C-3P0), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux) are all returning.
Expected Release Date: November 15, 2019
Paul Feig, director and brains behind such films as “Bridesmaids” and “Ghostbusters”, directed “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke and “Crazy Rich Asians” leading man Henry Golding in a new London-based festive film “Last Christmas”. It is based on a script written by double Oscar winner Emma Thompson and playwright Bryony Kimmings. Thompson was among the stellar cast of “Love Actually”. Is it possible “Last Christmas” could be in that comedic, rom-com style, with the odd heart-wrenching moment thrown in? “Last Christmas” was, of course, a huge Christmas hit song for Wham! in the eighties.
Expected Release Date: December 13, 2019
Horror giant Blumhouse is injecting the festive season with some terror by releasing a remake of “Black Christmas”. Directed by Sophia Takal, the first female director to lead a Blumhouse cinema release, this is the second remake of the same title. The action takes place at Hawthorne College, where sorority girls on campus are being picked off by a mysterious killer as the holidays approach. But instead of simply being slasher fodder as they were in the 1974 original, these modern girls fight back. The new film will star Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Brittany O’Grady, Lily Donoghue and Caleb Eberhardt and is set for release on Friday the 13th December.
UK Release Date: December 20, 2019
Oscar winners Jennifer Hudson and Dame Judi Dench head a star-strewn cast in the big screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical “Cats” this festive season. The cast also includes Idris Elba, Sir Ian McKellen, James Corden, Rebel Wilson and Taylor Swift.
Hudson plays the outcast Grizabella and performs the show-stopping song “Memory”. Tom Hooper, who won the Oscar for best director for “The King’s Speech” in 2011, has directed “Cats”.