10 Classic Movies You Can See in Theaters This Month

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December is a very good month for movie lovers—and this year is no exception. In addition to being the studios’ favorite month for releasing potential Oscar contenders (see: La La Land), a bevy of beloved standards are making their way back to the big screen over the next several weeks, many of them with a holiday slant. If you weren’t quick enough to get your hands on a pair of tickets for Rogue One, here are 10 equally tempting alternatives.

1. HOME ALONE (1990)

By now, you’ve probably seen the Wet Bandits take on 8-year-old Kevin McCallister a couple of dozen times. But when was the last time you saw Home Alone in a theater? Chris Columbus’s delightfully sadistic holiday classic is popping back up at theaters big and small across the country, including several Regal and Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas.


In mid-November, Oscar-winning moviemaker Hayao Miyazaki announced that he is coming out of retirement (again) to make one final film, Boro the Caterpillar (look for it in theaters in 2019). Just a few days later, Miyazaki fans got another treat when Fathom Events confirmed that Spirited Away would be making its way back into theaters across the country in honor of the film’s 15th anniversary. Though screenings were originally scheduled for December 4 and 5 only, a third event—on December 8—has been added.


Beginning with his debut feature, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Tim Burton has proven himself to be a master of creating lovable outcasts. Nowhere is this more evident than with Edward Scissorhands, in which Johnny Depp manages to find acceptance—well, some acceptance—despite wielding lethal weapons for fingers. The film is coming back to select Landmark Theatres, including locations in Detroit, Philadelphia, and San Diego.


As It’s a Wonderful Life prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary later this month, several theaters around the country are paying tribute to Frank Capra’s Christmas classic, which just might be the definitive holiday movie. It will be playing at select Regal theaters on Christmas Eve, and will make its annual return to New York City’s IFC Center from December 9 to December 27, with Donna Reed’s daughter, Mary Owen, in attendance and offering commentary at several screenings throughout the month.

5. GREMLINS (1984)

Six years before he directed Home Alone, Chris Columbus’s semi-dark holiday sensibilities were on full display in Gremlins, which he penned for director Joe Dante and executive producer Steven Spielberg. If you need a refresher on the rules of what not to do with a Mogwai, several Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas will be showing the movie, including locations in Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Austin.

6. THE ROOM (2003)

In 2003, aspiring superstar Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the awesomely terrible indie The Room. It’s so inexplicably bad that it’s good, and we’re not only still talking about it, but still regularly screening it in theaters nationwide. In December, that includes Landmark Theatres in Denver and Minneapolis.


As part of Turner Classic Movies’s commitment to, well, classic movies, they regularly bring classic films back to theaters for special showings. On December 11 and December 14, Fred Zinnemann’s From Here to Eternity, which follows the lives of three Army soldiers stationed in Hawaii in the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, will be back on the big screen. Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, and Frank Sinatra star in the wartime drama, which won a whopping eight Oscars.

8. THE SHINING (1980)

In addition to being one of the world’s most celebrated filmmakers, Quentin Tarantino is a bona fide movie geek—and a movie theater owner. At his New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, the lineup is always full of classic films and overlooked gems. And while December’s schedule has plenty of holiday fare to offer—including screenings of Elf, A Christmas Story, Scrooged, Santa Claus: The Movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians—there’s also a very non-yuletide theme: Stanley Kubrick. Throughout the month, the theater will highlight the acclaimed director’s most impressive pictures, including several showings of The Shining toward the end of the month, from December 28 to December 31.

9. ELF (2003)

Grab your maple syrup—Buddy the Elf is headed back into theaters. The beloved Will Ferrell comedy Elf will see some one-off screenings across the country, including at several Alamo Drafthouse outposts (including Yonkers, San Francisco, Brooklyn, and Austin).


The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the world’s most famous midnight movie. More than 40 years after the film’s original release, it’s still a regular late-night fixture at theaters across the country, including Landmark Theatres in Los Angeles, Houston, and Milwaukee. Let’s do the time warp again.