Santa isn’t the only one delivering big packages in December. Movie theaters will be taking the wraps off some king-size flicks, including the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which hits screens on Friday, Dec. 15.
Over the past five decades, the second week in December has been a time for studios to release films that were either box-office blockbusters, Oscar contenders and sometimes both.
Dec. 12, 1967
“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” marked the final film appearance of Spencer Tracy, who was teamed for the ninth time with Katharine Hepburn. They played an upper-middle-class couple who are shocked when their daughter (Katharine Houghton) tells them she’s become engaged to a black man (Sidney Poitier).
(The movie is getting a 50th anniversary screening at theaters in Westbury, Farmingdale, Holtsville, Stony Brook and Hampton Bays on Sunday and Wednesday, Dec. 13. Go to fathomevents.com for show times and ticket info.)
Dec. 16, 1977
Audiences had a disco ball watching John Travolta light up the dance floor in the smash “Saturday Night Fever,” which also earned him a best actor Oscar nomination. Even more successful than the film was its soundtrack, which included the Bee Gees hits “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever” and “How Deep Is Your Love.”
Dec. 11, 1987
As slimy corporate raider Gordon Gekko, whose mantra was “Greed is good,” Michael Douglas created one of the most unforgettable villains in movie history. While Douglas won a best actor Oscar for his role in “Wall Street,” his co-star Darryl Hannah was awarded the Razzie for worst supporting actress.
Dec. 12, 1997
Though Steven Spielberg’s slavery drama “Amistad” was the epic that opened that week, its competition — the modestly budgeted “Scream 2” — was the filmed that scared up audiences and raked in $101.4 million.
Dec. 14, 2007
Will Smith had gone from “Fresh Prince” to box-office king. His streak continued with the post-apocalyptic adventure “I Am Legend,” which also featured the inspired casting of his real-life daughter, Willow, as his on-screen daughter.
That same day also saw the release of the surprise hit “Alvin and the Chipmunks” based on the popular cartoon series and the singing rodent trio. Though the Chipmunks hit a sour note with critics, kids ate it up to the tune of $217.3 million in ticket sales.