People are continually surprised when they find out that Christmas is one of the busiest times for movies -- not just the holiday season, but Christmas Day specifically.
As someone who spent his high school years and college summers working at a movie theater, I can attest to the truth of this. The early show would be fairly light, but by 2 or 3 p.m., crowds started showing up in droves. Christmas night was always mammoth.
Why? Let me tell you.
First of all, because a lot of movies come out right around Christmas -- during this year, on Christmas Day -- and they're generally the films that Hollywood has ambitions for. They want to win Oscars and receive plaudits. So, as a quick-and-dirty rule, some of the best movies of the year are hitting screens. With a wide menu to choose from, it's more likely that most people will find at least one flick they want to see.
Second: Because, well, there's not a lot to do on Christmas after the presents are opened and the ham is eaten. Kids will grow bored of even new toys after several hours of continuous play. There's usually some sports on TV, but it's not all day.
Third: People often travel to see family for the holiday. And even though families like to spend time together, it's usually preferable in small doses. People can only go so many hours before old arguments or bad feelings rise to the top. Going to the movies is a way to do something "together," but not really interact. Including travel time, it's like a three-hour vacation from your vacation.
We'll be going to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" tomorrow. It's the only big movie coming out that I haven't seen. (There was a screening last week for it, but it was at the same time as "Marley & Me," and I was being paid to review that, so...) We're not traveling this year, or hosting anyone, so rule #3 doesn't apply in our case, in case you were wondering.