Going to the Movies on Thanksgiving: Is It for You?

Taking the whole clan to the multiplex is a holiday tradition shared by many — this year's offerings include 'Justice League' and 'Coco'

Thanksgiving overflows with traditions shared by households around the country — from extended families flying in to see loved ones to carving the delicious and well-prepared turkey to watching football after an incredible meal.

One Thanksgiving tradition shared by some, but perhaps not discussed as much as some others, is getting the family out of the house and into the local movie theater.

While most businesses are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, scores of movie theaters make sure to keep their doors wide open.

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Families this year can enjoy the latest animated adventure from Pixar, “Coco” — or watch the first big-screen team-up of DC Comics’ Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Batman, The Flash, and Cyborg in “Justice League.”

Those who keep themselves inside their warm homes with their families and friends on Thanksgiving may be wondering if catching a movie is really a good way to spend the holiday. The answer from many who have made this a holiday tradition is: absolutely.

“We’ve found it a great way to relax as a family or with friends after Thanksgiving. It gives everyone an opportunity to digest food and just relax,” Adrian Mendes of Georgia told LifeZette. “With younger children now, it seems to be a great way to find something for the entire family to do. Everyone always seems happy to go to the movies.” He says he’s kept this tradition alive through the years, no matter where he’s called home.

Barry Norman, owner and operator of the Eveningstar Cinema in Brunswick, Maine, said he always opens his doors for some Thanksgiving shows.

“I grew up outside of New York City, and it was always busy. During my time in Maine, there were a few more open seats, but [the theater] was still usually busy. Now I live in Georgia, and it’s just like New York City. We usually have an early Thanksgiving dinner — around 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. — so a 7 p.m. movie is quite busy down here in metro Atlanta,” Mendes said.

As for which movie he and his family will be catching this year: “We will probably see either ‘Coco’ or ‘Justice League,’ depending on the family members present. It would usually be more of an action flick — Marvel, James Bond, etc. — but over time, family members [now] have young children, so we’ve transitioned to more Pixar- or family-related movies,” he said.

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Barry Norman, the owner and operator of the Eveningstar Cinema in Brunswick, Maine, told LifeZette he’s always sure to open his doors for some Thanksgiving shows.

“We are always open for evening shows, but closed for matinees. We do it because we know that after Thanksgiving dinner, families still need to stay together — but would like each other to shut up for a couple of hours, so a movie is perfect,” said Norman with a laugh.

The winter holidays, of course, are a surprisingly busy time at the box office; studios save some of their biggest releases for the final months of the year. This means that, family tradition or not, some people simply can’t resist the movie choices available around this time.

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Though people are busy traveling and visiting with family, many make time to drop some dollars at the box office. There’s a plethora of movies vying for Oscar attention, Christmas-themed holiday films, and always a few blockbusters thrown in for good measure. This year’s crop includes the soon-to-be released “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

Some people are tempted to get to the movies on a holiday like Thanksgiving simply because of the specific film offerings. William Dyer, a resident of Massachusetts, said he took in a movie on Thanksgiving only once — and it was for 2000’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” starring Jim Carrey.

Said Dyer, “It was sold out, it was the only year we did it — and it was to see that movie.”

Will you be catching a flick this Thanksgiving?

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PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at [email protected].