December has traditionally been a down month for Hollywood at the box office. There’s something about the holiday season that keeps people out of movie theaters, which would explain why a large majority of the biggest blockbusters arrive during the summer months. But 2015 may be the year that finally bucks this trend. The slate of releases for this coming December hast the potential to not only make it the strongest month of this year, but also one of the best box office months Hollywood has ever seen.
It’s a perfect storm of anticipated premieres, chock full of remakes, sequels, big-name directors and actors, and controversial subject matter. Individually, each movie coming out in December would be considered a massive release in and of themselves. Combined, it’ll provide Hollywood with the cherry on top of what’s been a record-breaking year at the box office. We may even see Avatar‘s six-year reign as the highest grossing movie of all time come to an end, and you can bet movie studios are licking their chops knowing that.
1. Macbeth, December 4
Led by Michael Fassbender, the newest imagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth comes to us in the first week of December, leading off the month strong. It’s a role Fassbender looks born to play if recent trailers indicate anything. Put him alongside Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth and it’s a complete and utter slam dunk. While director Justin Kurzel is a relative unknown at the helm, it won’t take much to properly utilize two of Hollywood’s most talented actors. With that and the universal appeal of the film’s lead actors, this one will have to be an absolute trainwreck in order to flop.
2. Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, December 18
If there’s one movie with the potential to top Avatar‘s record for total gross, as well as Jurassic World‘s for biggest opening weekend, it’s this one. The Force Awakens is easily the most anticipated release of 2015, as a sequel a decade in the making. Disney is in charge this time around, and with George Lucas put out to pasture, many fans have set their expectations sky high. With sci-fi director extraordinaire J.J. Abrams in charge, it’s hard not to be excited.
3. Sisters, December 18
The Tina Fey and Amy Poehler-led Sisters will be running up against some stiff competition in its opening weekend. Everyone and their mother will likely be in line to see The Force Awakens, leaving little for this comedy to clean up on. That said, it does offer an intriguing alternative to the sci-fi sensibilities of its competition. Fey and Poehler playing sisters on-screen is pretty much the movie we’ve all been waiting for from the duo, making it a solid also-ran to Star Wars for the weekend of December 18.
4. Point Break, December 25
Christmas Day this year will see four huge releases, the first of which is the remake of the popular surfer-centric heist movie, Point Break. Led by the Ericson Core as director (The Fast and the Furious), it’ll look to key into the 18-24 year-old male demographic that Star Wars will seize the previous weekend. The Point Break remake will be a welcomed journey into a more Earth-bound storyline for the less sci-fi oriented men out there.
5. Concussion, December 25
Concussion has the potential to kick a hornet’s nest of controversy from the second it hits theaters. It stars Will Smith as Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who discovered the degenerative brain condition that affects a large swathe of football players even today. The NFL took steps to silence and discredit Omalu and his findings, but their efforts proved to be in vain. Now we’ll get a full-on biopic that casts a multi-billion dollar behemoth as the main villain, making for the first ever direct opposition of the NFL from Hollywood.
6. The Hateful Eight, December 25
It’s been almost three years since Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained hit theaters. Like clockwork, his next film is due to release this December, entitled The Hateful Eight. For the first time ever, Tarantino is bringing us a straight Western flick, breaking from his usual habit of simply borrowing elements of the genre. It’s jam-packed with talent, starring Channing Tatum, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, and Tim Roth among others. Tarantino has rarely struggled creating buzz for his releases, and we don’t see The Hateful Eight not succeeding similarly.
7. The Revenant, December 25
Leonardo DiCaprio’s quest for an Academy Award has been long and arduous, and The Revenant will represent his latest attempt. In it, he plays legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass, telling the true story of Glass’s journey through the untamed wilderness of Missouri. It’s a juicy role that will put DiCaprio’s talents on display just in time for the latter end of Oscar season, while also landing in a competitive weekend at the box office. It likely won’t top the list for its premiere, but it could very well be the most Oscar-worthy film of December.
Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest
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