2019 saved some of its most exciting movie releases for December, and there will be a bit of everything for all ages and tastes. This year was packed with big releases from different genres – on the superhero side, for example, viewers finally witnessed the biggest superhero battle to date in Avengers: Endgame, while on the horror front Stephen King fans got a good dose of scares with IT: Chapter 2 and Doctor Sleep. 2019 also saw the return of Martin Scorsese to mob movies with The Irishman, a re-imagining of the 1960s with Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and more.
The reboots and remakes trend is still alive, and this year had titles like Pet Sematary, Charlie’s Angels, and Hellboy, as well as live-action adaptations of animated classics, most notably Aladdin and The Lion King. Of course, not all of them were the big hits studios were expecting – a recent example is Terminator: Dark Fate, which didn’t perform as needed, to the point where the future of a new trilogy is now uncertain.
This month, audiences will get to enjoy the final chapter in the Skywalker saga, a Broadway musical, a new adaptation of a literary classic, a different take on a slasher movie from the 1970s, and more. Here are the biggest December 2019 movies.
Playmobil: The Movie - December 6
It’s time for Playmobil figures to show what they can bring to the big screen. Playmobil: The Movie is the directorial debut of Lino DiSalvo and centers on siblings Marla (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Charlie (Gabriel Bateman), who are transported to the Playmobil world. Once there, they find themselves in the middle of a Viking battle and meet many colorful characters, like Emperor Maximus (voiced by Adam Lambert), pirate captain Bloodbones (Kenan Thompson), and secret agent Rex Dasher (Daniel Radcliffe).
Playmobil: The Movie was released in Europe and parts of Latin America in August, but the U.S. release came across with some issues. It was originally scheduled to be released in January, but due to the bankruptcy of Global Road, STX bought the U.S. distribution rights and the release date was delayed.
Jumanji: The Next Level - December 13
The world of Jumanji continues to create chaos, and this time, the group will have to re-enter the game to save Spencer (Alex Wolff), who kept the pieces of the video game and repaired the system in the basement of his grandfather’s house. Jumanji: The Next Level has Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas back as the avatars, which got all mixed up this time. Together they will go through desserts and snowy mountains to find Spencer in the world’s most dangerous game.
Black Christmas - December 13
Horror is not exclusive to October, and December will have its dose of slasher with Black Christmas. Directed by Sophia Takal, Black Christmas is another loose remake of the 1974 movie of the same name, but with a twist to make it more modern. In it, sorority girls at Hawthorne College are being killed by an unknown stalker, but what this killer wasn’t counting on is that these young women will mount a fight to stop the murders. The trailer has been criticized for showing too much and spoiling the film’s big twist – though there’s always the possibility of it being a trick and the movie still keeping some big moments a secret. Still, you might want to stay away from the trailers, just to be sure.
A Hidden Life - December 13
Terrence Malick’s latest movie is a historical drama starring August Diehl (best known as Major Hellstrom in Inglourious Basterds), Valerie Pachner, and Michael Nyqvist (Mikael Blomkvist in the Swedish version of the Millennium trilogy). Inspired by true events, the story centers on Austrian farmer Franz Jägerstätter (Diehl), who faces the threat of execution for refusing to fight for the Nazis during World War II. A Hidden Life premiered in competition at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival and was quickly acquired by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Code 8 - December 13
In 2016, Robbie and Stephen Amell released a 10-minute short film titled Code 8, which served as a teaser for a full-length feature – but they needed funds. The Amells started a crowdfunding campaign and quickly reached (and surpassed) their $200,000 goal. Now, the movie is finally ready for the world to see it, and it kept the same creative team as the short-film, with Jeff Chan back as director and a story by him and Chris Pare. Set in a future where 4% of Earth’s population have special powers, Code 8 follows Conner Reed (Robbie Amell), a desperate young man with special abilities who clashes with a militarized police force after committing a crime.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - December 20
One of the most anticipated movies of the year is finally arriving on December 20. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker marks the end of the sequel trilogy and the Skywalker saga, and it promises to be an epic conclusion to decades of Star Wars history. Plot details are still a mystery, but the story is set a year after the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and will follow what’s left of the Resistance as it faces the First Order one more time. Meanwhile, the conflict between the Jedi and the Sith will reach its highest point.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will see the return of Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine aka Darth Sidious and Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, and will welcome new characters Jannah (played by Naomi Ackie), Allegiant General Pryde (Richard E. Grant), and Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell). Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa will appear through the use of unreleased footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. It’s going to be an emotional ride, for sure.
Bombshell - December 20
Bombshell is a drama movie directed by Jay Roach (Trumbo) and written by Charles Randolph (The Big Short), based on the women at Fox News who exposed CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment in 2016. Bombshell stars Charlize Theron (as journalist Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson), Margot Robbie, Kate McKinnon, and John Lithgow (as Roger Ailes).
Cats - December 20
Contrary to what the CGI and visuals from the first trailers showed, Cats is not a horror movie – it’s just an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical of the same name. The film is set over the course of a single night, where a tribe of cats called "the Jellicles" must decide each year which one of them will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life. Cats stars Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo, Ian McKellen, Francesca Hayward, and Rebel Wilson.
The first trailer received a lot of criticism for its mix of CGI and live-action used to portray the cats. Director Tom Hooper has explained that the CGI was in early development when the first trailer was released, and that it has evolved since – but the cats will still have human faces.
Little Women - December 25
Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women will be a Christmas treat. Little Women explores the lives of the March sisters – Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Meg (Emma Watson), Beth (Eliza Scanlen), and Amy (Florence Pugh) – in 1860s New England, in the aftermath of the Civil War. Also starring are Laura Dern as Marmee March, Timothée Chalamet as Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, and Meryl Streep as Aunt March.
The novel has been adapted to the big screen seven times prior to this new version, most notably in 1994 with Gillian Armstrong as director and a cast that included Winona Ryder as Jo, Susan Sarandon as Marmee, Christian Bale as Laurie, and Gabriel Byrne as Friedrich Bhaer.
1917 - December 25
If you’re not into coming-of-age period dramas, Christmas is also bringing Sam Mendes’ war movie 1917. Set during World War I, the movie follows two young British soldiers, Schofield (George McKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), who are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory to warn about an ambush, stopping 1,600 men, including Blake’s brother, from walking into a deadly trap. 1917 is based around a “fragment” told to Mendes by his grandfather, novelist Alfred Mendes.
- Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) release date: Dec 13, 2019
- Black Christmas (2019) release date: Dec 13, 2019
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Bombshell (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Cats (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Little Women (2019) release date: Dec 25, 2019
- 1917 (2019) release date: Dec 25, 2019