When the holiday season unfurls, Hollywood readies its most awesome, most dramatic and funniest films for big screen debut. Officially, the season runs from Thanksgiving through Christmas Day, though marketing gurus sometimes tweak the timing for box office advantages.
Only one caped hero, "Dr. Strange," will emerge. Fans will have to wait until March 2017 for "Logan" (the next Wolverine sequel) and May for "Guardians of the Galaxy's" next installment and the debut of "Wonder Woman."
Benedict Cumberbatch ("Black Mass," "Imitation Game") stars as the Sorcerer Supreme who gained mystic powers from the Ancient One. Opening Nov. 4, the mesmerizing trailer shows NYC folding into itself. Rachael McAdams and Tilda Swinton are the girl power.
After "Dr. Strange," two tentpoles emerge as fanboy must-see attractions: "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" and "Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them," each a spin-off.
Lucasfilms pits a band of resistance fighters on a mission to steal plans for the empire's soon-to-be death star weapon. Starring Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, "Rogue One" bonds ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. It takes place before the events of "Star Wars: A New Hope," but promises elements familiar to followers of the interstellar chronicles. (Dec. 16)
"Fantastic Beasts" sets up a series of adventures written by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) that occur before the young wizard arrived at Hogwarts. Eddie Redmayne ("Theory of Everything") stars as Mr. Scamander, a magizoologist visiting New York after a global excursion to find and document magical creatures. Set seven decades before Potter, the author of the wizardry textbook finds himself detained in the Big Apple following the escape of a few fantastic beasts and the arrival of a misplaced wizard named Jacob.
Joining "Rogue" in the science fiction genre, "Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence pairs with Chris Pratt for "Survivors." Traveling through space in suspended animation to a new colony, two passengers awaken due to a malfunctioning ship. The two face 90 years of opulent luxury before the remaining 5,000 colonists awaken until the spaceship's peril turns life threatening for all. (Dec. 23)
"Space Between Us" dares to open on the same day as "Rogue One." This interplanetary flick begins when an astronaut perishes giving birth to Mars' first human being. Following 16 years of living on the Red Planet with 14 others, inquisitive Gardner Elliott scrambles for clues about his dad and home planet Earth. He strikes up a beamed online conversation with a street smart Earth girl. When he finally ventures to the third planet from the sun, scientists learn that the Martian born teen can't endure earth's atmosphere.
POST ELECTION POLITICAL INTRIGUE
"Miss Sloane" arrives about a month after the election. Jessica Chastain plays a formidable power-broker lobbyist in the nation's capital. She will do anything to win and her track record verifies success. The woman encounters a situation where the stakes may be too high. (Dec. 9)
Danny Glover and Gabrille Union topline this year's dysfunctional Christmas family attempting to 'get along' just during the holidays. For them to survive intact will be a Christmas miracle. (Nov. 11)
"Office Christmas Party" has an office manager throwing one hell of a party to impress a would-be client, knowing that failure to sign a deal means unemployment. Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman star. (Dec. 9)
"Why Him?" scheduled Dec. 23; Stephanie's (Zoey Deutch) father (Bryan Cranston) visiting her college and forming a bitter rivalry with her billionaire boyfriend (James Franco).
"Edge of Seventeen" finds Nadine's life becoming more unbearable when her best friend starts dating her older brother. (Nov. 18)
"Bad Santa 2" teams Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates and Tony Cox targeting a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve. (Nov. 25)
Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel and Steve Martin tell "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" as he returns home following a harrowing Iraq battle. (Nov. 11)
Brad Pitt co-stars with Marion Cotillard as an intelligence officer and French resistance fighter, respectively, who, after surviving behind enemy lines, find each other in London only to face additional pressures of World War II. "Allied" opens Nov. 25.
The tentative schedule of nationwide releases follows:
Nov 4: Dr. Strangelove, Trolls, Hacksaw Ridge
Nov. 11: Almost Christmas, Arrival, Shut In, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Nov. 18 : Bleed for This, Edge of Seventeen, Fantastic Beasts
Nov. 23: Allied, Bad Santa 2, Moana, Rules Don't Apply
Dec. 2: Incarnate, Kidnap
Dec. 9: Office Christmas Party
Dec. 16: Rogue One, Collateral Beauty, Space Between Us
Dec. 21: Assassin's Creed, Passengers, Sing
Dec 23: Why Him?
Dec 25: Fences, Gold