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Spending your Christmas Day at the movies?
You're not alone, as Dec. 25 marks a peak time for movie watching
Moviegoers wait in line recently at Hollywood Stadium Cinemas in Gainesville. Today, lines will be long as many local families head to the movies to check out one of the many films opening.

Nor rain nor sleet nor snow can stop the letter carrier. And the movie theater.

Showing movies is a year-round business, and the holiday season — especially on Christmas Day — is one of the top times for ticket sales, according to those in the movie industry.

“Yeah, a lot of people come after presents and all that, and when they eat and they come and watch all the new movies,” said Hollywood Stadium Cinemas employee Leanne Taylor. “We’re getting like eight new films.”

This will be the second Christmas Taylor has worked at the Gainesville cinema off Dawsonville highway, and she said last year she was surprised by the number of people who came out on Christmas day.

“It was like, really crazy,” she said. “There was so many lines, I was like, wow.”

Many area residents said they are making plans to see a film today, in between opening gifts and sitting down for a meal with the family.

“You open your presents and, after that, let’s go watch a movie,” said North Hall High School student Andrew Fields, who said he’s gone to the cinema on previous Christmases, too.

Rocky Stargel, whose 8-year-old son, Nick, was nearly cast in the new film “Marley & Me,” said movie-watching is an annual tradition in their family.

“Well, we had talked about going to see ‘Valkyrie’ and somebody else had talked about going to see ‘Marley & Me,” he said. And since Nick has launched his acting career, it’s added even more interest in getting out to see new movies.

“We love to go see movies,” he added.

Russ Nunley, vice president of marketing and communications for Regal Cinemas, which owns the Regal Mall of Georgia cinemas, said big family gatherings mean people are looking for entertainment that can satisfy a diverse group.

“So, where everyone might not agree on going out to see a ball game, they probably can find something they’re actually anticipating and excited to see at their local movie house,” Nunley said. “The theater never closes — 365 days a year. Christmas is actually a very big day for the moviegoing industry ... there’s big crowds.”

And the draw is enhanced when films that are being released are also usually the ones up for Academy Awards, too.

“Traffic is very strong on Christmas Day, particularly after 3 or 4 p.m. as family things wrap up and people start coming out,” said Sun Dee Larson, spokeswoman for the AMC theater chain, which operates more than 5,000 screens in 30 states.

Last Dec. 25, the top 10 films rang up $57.4 million in ticket sales in North America. “It ranked as the 15th-biggest day of the year in terms of top-10 grosses,” said Brandon Gray, president of Box Office Mojo, which tracks movie revenue.

Ho, ho, ho! And pass the popcorn.

Nunley said the Christmas season is second only to summer, when big blockbusters are released over a few months.

“But it’s a little bit of apples and oranges to compare because the holiday season is much more concentrated over a shorter time period,” he said. “It does not draw as much box office money as the summer season, but the summer season also lasts a lot longer on the calendar.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer contributed to this report

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