Across the last weekends of the year, the box office will get interesting.
Sure, "Star Wars: Episode XI — The Rise of Skywalker" will consume screens across the globe and make boatloads of money. To compete with that mammoth title, distributors will pull out former Broadway hits (Tom Hooper's "Cats") and World War I dramas (Sam Mendes' "1917").
In the meantime, the season has other titles that are worth seeing and seeking out, and they will make a splash past their big screen debuts come award season. Netflix is gambling big with Noah Baumbach's latest comedy-drama, "Marriage Story," and Martin Scorsese's $180 million, 3½-hour epic crime drama "The Irishman."
Further awards consideration will come from Trey Edward Shults' latest drama, "Waves," starring Sterling K. Brown and up-and-coming New Orleans actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. (2018's "Monsters and Men"), and the Safdie Brothers' crime drama starring Adam Sandler, "Uncut Gems."
The following is a summary of those bigger titles through the end of the year. Release dates are subject to change.
"Charlie's Angels" (PG-13) — Elizabeth Banks directs, co-writes and co-stars in this latest reboot of the late 1970s television show about female super spies. This time around, Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska star as the butt-kicking trio. Without the buzz or star power of the 2000 hit with Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, however, this looks like the latest d.o.a. reboot.
"Ford v Ferrari" (PG-13) — Matt Damon is a car designer, and Christian Bale is a driver. Neither character is named Ford or Ferrari; they do hate each other. Damon's and Bale's characters have to put away their feelings to make a Ford automobile that will challenge a Ferrari during the 1966 Le Mans race. Reviews have been promising even if audiences don't historically race to see biographical dramas about race cars.
Also playing: Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren team up for the spy drama "The Good Liar" (R); the story of a suburban African American family is explored in writer/director Trey Edward Shults' critically acclaimed "Waves" (R).
"A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" (not yet rated) — Tom Hanks is about to make you cry during Thanksgiving when he appears in this biographical drama as Fred Rogers.
"Frozen II" (PG) — As soon as you "Let It Go," the team behind one of the biggest animated holiday hits returns. In this Disney sequel, Elsa, Olaf and others travel to an ancient forest of an enchanted land that's full of other songs that will invade your minivan.
Also playing: Chadwick Boseman stars as a cop on a manhunt in "21 Bridges" (R). Mark Ruffalo stars as a corporate defense attorney who fights a chemical company in "Dark Waters" (PG-13).
"Knives Out" (PG-13) — Rian Johnson follows up his divisive "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" with a sly whodunit that features a knockout cast. Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, LaKeith Stanfield and Christopher Plummer are just some of the big names you'll see, unless you hate "The Last Jedi" that much.
"Queen & Slim" (R) — A black couple's first date turns into a nightmare after a police officer pulls them over. Stylishly directed by Melina Matsoukas (Beyoncé's "Formation"), written by Lena Waithe ("Master of None," "Dear White People"), and starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, "Queen & Slim" has all the ingredients to be a knockout.
On Netflix: Martin Scorsese directs Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino in "The Irishman" (R), a lengthy drama about the friendship between supposed mobster Frank Sheehan and Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa.
"Playmobil: The Movie" (not yet rated) — This animated film inspired by the brand of toys has gone from a January release (where it belonged) to April (where it would have been flattened by "Avengers: Endgame") to December (where it will be flattened by "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker").
On Netflix: Noah Baumbach ("Frances Ha") directs Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson in the potential Oscar contender "Marriage Story" (R).
Also playing: Amazon unleashes its fantasy-drama starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne, "The Aeronauts" (PG-13), in limited theaters before its Dec. 20 streaming date. Katie Holmes stars in the horror flick "Brahms: The Boy II" (PG-13). A female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman in a French romantic drama that will make you go "Ah oui!" "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" (R).
"Jumanji: The Next Level" (PG-13) — Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan are getting paid in this sequel. The good news here, I guess, is that the writing staff is three, compared with the eight for the 2017 hit reboot.
"Bombshell" (not yet rated) — Jay Roach ("Austin Powers") directs this biographical drama about Fox News anchors Megyn Kelly (played by Charlize Theron), Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) and Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) taking on Roger Ailes. This will likely have the impact of last year's Dick Cheney biopic, "Vice," meaning none.
Also playing: Blumhouse reboots the holiday slasher "Black Christmas" (not yet rated); Clint Eastwood directs the true story of security guard who saved lives in the attack during the 1996 Olympics in "Richard Jewell" (not yet rated); Terrence Malick directs the WWII drama "A Hidden Life" (PG-13).
On Netflix: Director Michael Bay and Deadpool, I mean, Ryan Reynolds, blow stuff up in "6 Underground" (not yet rated).
"Cats" (not yet rated) — Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech") directs this animated comedy-drama based on Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit musical. The cast features Idris Elba, Dame Judi Dench, James Corden and Taylor Swift. But the special effects seem …uhh … distracting.
"Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker" (not yet rated) — The final chapter of the "Star Wars" Skywalker saga will make billions, whether you like it or not. Why? Fans and angry nerds want to see if director J.J. Abrams can once again "right" the wrongs of earlier installments (*eyeroll forever*), and to see if Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) will finally make out (lol).
On Netflix: Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce respectively star as Pope Benedict and Pope Francis in the drama "The Two Popes" (PG-13).
"1917" (R) — Sam Mendes, last seen directing James Bond in "Spectre" and "Skyfall," tackles World War I heroics. Mendes is no stranger to war movies. His first, 2005's "Jarhead," was an underrated look at the psyche of soldiers during the Gulf War. Here, Mendes filmed and edited the entirety of the movie to appear as a single shot.
"Little Women" (PG) — After writing and directing 2017's "Lady Bird," Greta Gerwig reteams with Saoirse Ronan for this adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's romantic drama about four sisters coming of age in America in the aftermath of the Civil War. Emma Watson and Timothée Chalamet (so dreamy) co-star.
"Uncut Gems" (R) — Adam Sandler is giving a hoot and churning out consistently great roles. OK, we'll ignore "Murder Mystery." However, the Sandman is getting serious Oscar buzz for his role as a charismatic New York City jeweler in the Safdie Brothers' ("Good Time") latest crime drama. With Kevin Garnett co-starring, I absolutely cannot wait for Christmas.
Also playing: Will Smith provides the voice of a spy-turned-pigeon in the animated comedy "Spies in Disguise" (PG). Michael B. Jordan ("Creed") stars as civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson in the limited release drama "Just Mercy" (PG-13). Alfre Woodard gives one of her best performances in the legal drama "Clemency" (R), opening in limited theaters on Dec. 27.