Who says you can’t have a little action and adventure with your holiday cheer? The studios are serving up summer-style pics — kid flicks, comedies, action, sci-fi, sequels — well into the season of peace and joy. At center stage, as any tot can tell you, is the Fox/Disney animated battle pitting the Russian Revolution musical comedy ANASTASIA against the rerelease of THE LITTLE MERMAID.
Top ‘toons are just the first of the kid pics. Parents should expect to get familiar with Robin Williams’ Absent-Minded Professor update, FLUBBER, and MOUSE HUNT, a tale of two brothers battling a pesky rodent. Rounding out the season are the live-action MR. MAGOO, starring Leslie Nielsen, and the Culkin-less HOME ALONE 3. For older kids, Bill Murray bumbles his way through international espionage in THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE.
Want more-adult thrills? Master terrorist hunter Richard Gere faces master assassin Bruce Willis in Michael Caton-Jones’ THE JACKAL. Bond lives on in TOMORROW NEVER DIES as Pierce Brosnan takes on Rupert Murdoch-like media mogul Jonathan Pryce. And if anticipation is any indication, Kevin Williamson’s self-referential slasher SCREAM 2 (starring Courteney Cox, Neve Campbell, Jada Pinkett, and about every teen idol in Hollywood) should do serious box office damage.
ALIEN RESURRECTION (with Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder) brings back Ripley and her acidic adversaries. THE POSTMAN, set after the second American Civil War, marks star Kevin Costner’s second try at the postapocalyptic thing. MORTAL KOMBAT II: ANNIHILATION picks up where its 1995 predecessor (which grossed $70 million) left off, and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS is an across-the-Channel take on John Landis’ 1981 original. And for the screwball-comedy set, Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley star in FOR RICHER OR POORER as feuding New Yorkers who rediscover love on the lam in Amish country. But can they quilt?