The­aters rolling out the big guns for hol­i­day sea­son

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - FRONT PAGE - Brian Truitt

Along with plenty of fam­ily fare, early Os­car con­tenders like Chris­tian Bale’s turn as Dick Cheney in “Vice.”

For the first time in years, Santa isn’t bring­ing a “Star Wars” film to good lit­tle girls and boys this Christ­mas. That’s all right, be­cause this hol­i­day movie sea­son is a packed house with a wildman su­per­hero who hangs with fish, an adorable Au­to­bot, a cou­ple of Spi­der-Men, some mag­i­cal folks and even Dick Cheney. ❚ Pre­pare for a bunch of big fran­chise movies to gorge on af­ter your Thanks­giv­ing turkey. Don’t worry, though: The slate is stuffed with awards-ready fare, too, as stu­dios try to get films out be­fore New Year’s for Os­car con­sid­er­a­tion. ❚ Here are 10 films, from the re­turn of the su­per­cal­ifrag­ilis­tic­ex­pi­ali­do­cious nanny to a Vi­ola Davis heist flick, that you’re ab­so­lutely go­ing to want to see in the next two months.

‘Fan­tas­tic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindel­wald’ (Nov. 16)

Stars: Ed­die Red­mayne, Dan Fogler, Jude Law

Di­rec­tor: David Yates

The skinny: War is start­ing within the wiz­ard­ing world of the 1920s, with vil­lain­ous Gellert Gren­del­wald (Johnny Depp) ral­ly­ing magic men and women against hu­mankind, caus­ing ev­ery­one to choose sides. But af­ter be­friend­ing quirky wand­wav­ing hero Newt Sca­man­der (Red­mayne) in the first “Beasts,” loyal World War I vet Ja­cob Kowal­ski (Fogler) is #TeamNewt for­ever. “His heart is just big­ger than his whole torso,” Fogler says of his char­ac­ter. “This is an epic, gi­gan­tic movie and you have lovely lit­tle mo­ments of these brothers try­ing to help each other out.” And they need to be a tighter unit than ever: “The good guys are be­ing tested, and the bad guys are ris­ing up and try­ing to level the play­ing field.”

ANNAPURNA PIC­TURES

WARNER BROS. PIC­TURES

Ja­cob Kowal­ski (Dan Fogler, left) is still amazed by his mag­i­cal pal Newt Sca­man­der (Ed­die Red­mayne) in the se­quel “Fan­tas­tic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindel­wald.”

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