COLUMBUS,Miss. – For the film industry, the holiday season is a major opportunity to roll out blockbuster releases, and Dr. Van Roberts, a longtime movie aficionado, says there’s a lot to look forward to.

The associate professor of communication at Mississippi University for Women has reviewed more than 2,000 movies on the Internet Movie Data Base and is considered a local expert. For those looking for the big screen entertainment during the holiday break, he says there’s plenty to draw fans to the box office.  

“The Christmas movie season began around Thanksgiving with the release of release of the new James Bond saga “Spectre” and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 2,“ part of two hugely successful franchises. There are several other recent releases that he notes will draw a variety of viewers. 

The force is definitely with Star Wars fans this season with the recent release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The PG-rated film, released Dec. 18, is already drawing huge crowds and brought in a record-breaking $238 million in ticket sales the first weekend it opened. The original Star Wars opened in 1977. 

“This movie is undoubtedly going to bring a lot of people in the multiplexes, principally for the Star Wars film.  But if people are not able to watch that film, it they might watch one of the other movies available,” Roberts said, which will add a further boost to the movie season. 

For family fun, Charlie Brown and the gang are spreading joy and cheer on the big screen, he noted. Released in November, “The Peanuts Movie” continues the bumbling antics of one of the most beloved comic strip characters. “This version holds true to Charles Schulz’s memory with the nice, clean fun that we can expect from the gang,” Roberts said. The film features 3-D animation, with writing credits that include Schulz’s grandson. 

On a more serious note, actor Will Smith stars in a film that sheds light on a controversial issue in the game of football.  “Concussion,” which opens Christmas Day, is based on the biography of a doctor who uncovers the links between the sport and traumatic head injuries. This film is rated PG-13 and has already generated much debate.

Those who want to watch a movie in the comfort of home may want to opt for “The Ridiculous 6,”  a Netflix original movie released Dec. 11. The comedy stars Adam Sandler and Terry Cruz, and was co-written by Sandler.  Although it has generated some less-than-flattering reviews, Roberts believes it is a parody for the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film, “The Hateful Eight.” 

Scheduled for a New Year’s Day release, “The Hateful Eight” stars Channing Tatum and Samuel L. Jackson. With it, Roberts believes Tarantino is hoping to revitalize the genre of classic Westerns. Rated R, the film is set in the years after the Civil War and details the stresses of relationships between eight characters in an unforgiving wilderness.

Whatever the taste in movies, Roberts says holiday releases will offer plenty of variety and a choice for every interest. 

 Immediate Release 
December 27, 2015