Movie Releases

Christmas is always a fantastic time for big movie releases and this year, in spite of everything, we hope for more of the same. Here we have film news and releases to keep us engrossed through the festive season.

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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 continued in 2019 when “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” was released in December. 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 Expected Release Dates

16th December 2022

20th December 2024

18th December 2026

Avatar Expected Release Dates

17th December 2021 – Avatar 2

22nd December 2023 – Avatar 3

19th December 2025 – Avatar 4

17th December 2027 – Avatar 5

Movie News

British star Keira Knightley is leading the cast of Christmas comedy film “Silent Night”, which reportedly began principal photography in the UK in mid-February 2020. The story revolves around an extended family having Christmas dinner together in a country gathering. Among those also appearing in the festive movie are Roman Griffin Davis, Matthew Goode, Lucy Punch and Rufus Jones. Camille Griffin is making her directorial feature film debut and also wrote the original screenplay. Not sure how much was in the can before lockdown.

“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.

The USA’s Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is hoping to unveil more than thirty new Christmas movies for 2020.

US television channel Lifetime ordered a personal best 28 new Christmas films for the 2019 festive season – surpassing its record total off 18 in 2018. We’ll see if the pandemic causes a reversal of that trend in 2020.

The Sony Movies Christmas TV channel launched early in the UK for 2019 and we expect a similar timeframe for 2020. Previously known as True Christmas, the 24/7 festive film channel opened for yuletide business on September 10 last year and showed nothing but Christmas fayre through until January 2020.

The new James Bond film, starring Daniel Craig as 007 for the final time, will now be in cinemas in the run up to Christmas 2020 after its release date was delayed by seven months amid the coronavirus outbreak. Producers of “No Time to Die” said in early March they had moved the release until November after “careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace”. It will now be out in the UK on November 12 and in the USA on November 25.

For similar reasons, the Tom Cruise sequel Top Gun Maverick” is now to be released on December 23 instead of June.

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. Last year we enjoyed “Klaus”, a new animated version about Santa Claus’s origins from the writer & director of the brilliant “Despicable Me”. Look out for more original Christmas movies from Netflix in 2020.

Movie Releases: Festive Season 2020

“Coming 2 America”

Eddie Murphy returns as Prince Akeem Joffer in “Coming 2 America”, a sequel to a film of the same name – with one subtle difference. The 1988 movie was entitled “Coming to America”. Just as Murphy’s Prince is about to become King of Zamunda, he finds out he has a son in the US and heads to New York to try to mould him in to his heir. Murphy stars alongside Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Wesley Snipes and James Earl Jones.

US Release Date – December 18

Tom and Jerry

The cartoon enemies Tom and Jerry have been on the big screen many times before, but usually in bite-size offerings. This time, though, they appear in a live action movie based on the animated shorts created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Chloe Grace Moretz, Michael Pena, Ken Jeong and Rob Delaney star alongside the cat and mouse duo. At the heart of the story, Moretz’s character Kayla teams up with Tom to stop Jerry ruining an important event. 

Release Date – December 23

West Side Story

Directed by Steven Spielberg, this is a new adaptation of the Broadway sensation by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim and is expected to stay closer to the stage musical than the 1961 version. The tale sees Tony and Maria fall in love in fifties New York, even though they are on opposite sides of a street gang feud between the Jets and the Sharks. Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler star. Composer David Newman adapted Bernstein’s original score. 

Release Date – December 18

No Time to Die

The 25th James Bond blockbuster, starring Daniel Craig as 007 for the final time, will be in cinemas in the run up to Christmas 2020 after its release date was delayed by seven months amid coronavirus concerns. Producers of “No Time to Die” said in early March they had moved the global release from April until November after “careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace”

Release Dates – November 12 in the UK; November 25 in the USA

Top Gun Maverick

The eagerly and long-awaited sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun” comes to screens just before Christmas 2020 after being delayed from June because of the coronavirus outbreak. Tom Cruise returns as Maverick, with Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer and Jon Hamm among the supporting cast. Facing an uncertain future and confronting past demons, experienced flight instructor and test pilot Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchells finds himself facing his deepest fears, resulting in a mission that might just demand the ultimate sacrifice.

Release Date – December 23