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The Monster is coming for the holidays.

Focus Features has re-set the release for A Monster Calls — the cinematic adaptation of Patrick Ness’s coming-of-age graphic novel — for a limited run on Dec. 23. It will go wide to 1,500 theaters on Jan. 6, 2017.

Director J.A. Bayona’s (The Impossible) movie follows Conor, a preteen forced to face his mother’s (Felicity Jones) terminal illness, a strict grandmother (Sigourney Weaver), and a hostile school environment. One night, his imaginary guardian — a gigantic tree (voiced by Liam Neeson) — pays him a visit in his time of need. The tree also serves as a guide for Conor. “The tree has been always an allegory for spiritual growth,” Bayona told EW. “The monster represents the man Conor is turning into.”

“The most important thing was for the monster to be old, wise, and filled with great strength,” production designer Eugenio Caballero told EW.

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The film was originally set for Oct. 14 before being moved to a week later, Oct. 21. Its new December release date makes it an awards season contender. See the trailer below.

A Monster Calls
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  • Movie
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  • 108 minutes
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