Coming Soon: November 25th, 2020

Welcome to this week’s super-early holiday edition of Back Lot 605’s Coming Soon column! With Thanksgiving just days away, streaming services are debuting several big movies this week to keep folks entertained, and studios are also trotting out some heavy-hitters on VOD as well. Here’s what’s coming soon for the week of November 25th, 2020:

Featured Title: The Christmas Chronicles 2

If you’ve been paying attention to our podcast this month, you’ll notice that we’ve been exclusively covering movies starring the one and only Kurt Russell! Why did we do this? Well, it’s because Kurt has a new movie coming out this week: the sequel to 2018’s Netflix holiday movie The Christmas Chronicles! And not only is Kurt returning… but his longtime real-life life, Goldie Hawn, returns as Mrs. Claus in a full-blown co-starring role, after cameoing at the very end of the first movie.

This time, the Clauses have to stop the evil elf Belsnickel (Julian Dennison, from Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Deadpool 2), who threatens to end Christmas forever, somehow. Darby Camp and Judah Lewis reprise their roles as Kate and Teddy, and Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Tyrese Gibson also star. The sequel also gains a high-profile writer-director: Chris Columbus (Home Alone 1 & 2, Mrs. Doubtfire, Harry Potter 1 & 2), who produced the first Christmas Chronicles, helms and co-writes this follow-up. (Premieres Wednesday, November 25th on Netflix; also playing at the West Mall 7 in Sioux Falls on November 24th-26th, courtesy of Cinema Falls.)

Opening in Theaters

The Croods: A New Age

Another family sequel is debuting this weekend, but in theaters instead of Netflix: a long-gestating sequel to DreamWorks’ 2013 animated comedy hit about a prehistoric family who ventures out in the world. This time around, the Croods encounters a better and more evolved family called The Bettermans. The entire 2013 cast is returning here… including Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke and Cloris Leachman. Joining them as the Bettermans are Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann and Kelly Marie Tran. Now, if you’re concerned about taking your family to theaters during a pandemic, don’t worry: Universal is planning to have this sequel on VOD by Christmas. (Opening Wednesday, November 25th in theaters nationwide, including the Century Stadium 14, Century East and West Mall 7 in Sioux Falls.)

New to Streaming and VOD

Happiest Season

Debuting on Hulu this weekend is a queer holiday rom-com about a woman (Kristen Stewart) who plans to propose to her girlfriend (Mackenzie Davis) at the latter’s family’s Thanksgiving dinner. But just before they meet the family, Davis lets K-Stew know that she’s never come out to her family… and that her family thinks she’s just bringing “a friend” home for the holidays. The all-star cast includes Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie, Daniel Levy, Mary Steenburgen, and Victor Garber… and the director is actress-turned-helmer Clea Duvall Of note is that this movie was originally slated by Sony to be released into theaters nationwide this weekend, before COVID caused this movie to be sold to Hulu. (Premieres Wednesday, November 25th on Hulu.)


Guess what: Kurt Russell isn’t the only celebrity Santa Claus that you can watch this weekend! His Tequila Sunrise co-star Mel Gibson is also getting in the holiday spirit… and Mel’s version of Santa is super-grizzled, super-drunk, and living in Alaska, where he’s resorted to partnering with the U.S. government (?!?) to get by. But, he’s soon pursued by an assassin (Walton Goggins!), who’s hired to kill Santa after a 12-year-old gets a lump of coal for Christmas… leading to hard-R bloody violence. And before you ask, folks… yes, this is the actual plot of the movie. 🙂 (Premieres Tuesday, November 24th on VOD services.)

Hillbilly Elegy

We talked about Ron Howard’s new Amy Adams-Glenn Close awards player a couple of weeks ago, when it opened at the West Mall 7 here in Sioux Falls, so we won’t go in-depth into this movie again. But, it is finally making its Netflix premiere this week, so here’s a convenient reminder for you! (Premieres Tuesday, November 24th on Netflix.)


While we wait for Wonder Woman 1984 to drop on HBO Max this Christmas, the streaming service is unveiling its Thanksgiving Day offering. This is the fourth Melissa McCarthy comedy to be directed by her husband Ben Falcone (after Tammy, The Boss, and Life of the Party). And in fact, this was supposed to open in theaters way back on Christmas 2019, before it was moved to streaming. McCarthy stars as “the most average person on earth”, who’s selected to be studied by an A.I. (voiced by James Corden) that will use its findings to decide whether or not to, umm… enslave the human race?!? Also starring Bobby Cannavale, Brian Tyree Henry, Jean Smart, Karan Soni, and Sarah Baker. (Premieres Thursday, November 26th on HBO Max.)

Black Beauty

Earlier this year, Disney acquired this already-completed remake of the classic Anna Sewell novel, which is set in modern-day times, to fill out their Disney+ slate. Mackenzie Foy (whom you know best as Murph from Interstellar) heads the cast, along with Claire Forlani, and Iain Glen. But the most eye-catching name in the cast is Kate Winslet, who’s providing the voice of Black Beauty! Don’t worry… there’s no talking animal CGI here; just Winslet’s voice playing over normal horse footage. (Premieres Friday, November 27th on Disney+.)

Uncle Frank

Over on Amazon Prime, we’ve got our second coming-out movie of the holiday weekend… this time, a period-piece drama set in 1972, from Alan Ball, the creator of Six Feet Under and True Blood. Paul Bettany stars a gay NY literature professor in 1972 who’s kept his orientation secret from his extended family… and who has to return to his Southern hometown when his dad dies. Also starring It‘s Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi, Judy Greer, Steve Zahn, Margo Martindale, and Stephen Root. (Premieres Wednesday, November 25th on Amazon Prime Video.)


Next up, we have that David Bowie quasi-biopic you may have heard about! Y’know, the movie that didn’t actually get the rights to use Bowie’s music… so we’ll see whether or not that descends into Jackie Jormp-Jomp levels! It follows young David Bowie (Johnny Flynn) as he embarks on a 1971 U.S. promotional tour for his album The Man Who Sold the World. Jena Malone and Marc Maron also star. (Premieres Wednesday, November 25th on VOD services.)


On the documentary front, we have a 5-years-in-the-making documentary about musician Frank Zappa, made with the full cooperation of Zappa’s family. The reason I’m putting it in this week’s article is because it’s directed by a documentarian that you know quite well: Bill S. Preston himself, Alex Winter! (Premieres Sunday, November 27th on VOD.)


Finally, we have this week’s Shudder premiere: a horror-comedy in which five virginal movie theater employees discover a mysterious film in the theater’s basement, and watch it… unwittingly unleashing a sex demon in the process! (Premieres Tuesday, November 24th on Shudder.)

Returning to Theaters


Because Disney clearly cannot “let it go”, the studio’s weekly theatrical re-release for Thanksgiving weekend is the 2013 surprise mega-hit that was absolutely inescapable back in the day! Starring Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad. (Opens Friday, November 25th in theaters nationwide, including the Century Stadium 14 and Century East in Sioux Falls.)

The Blues Brothers

They’re still on a mission from God! This week’s TCM/Fathom Events offering is a 40th anniversary presentation of John Landis’ beloved 1980 action/comedy/musical classic, starring John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd. Other familiar faces include James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Cab Calloway, Carrie Fisher, John Candy, and… Steven Spielberg?!? (Playing Sunday, November 29th and Wednesday, December 2nd in select theaters nationwide, including the Century Stadium 14 and Century East in Sioux Falls.)

New This Week to Blu-ray and 4K

  • The Irishman (2019) (new to The Criterion Collection!)
  • Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020) (also available on 4K!)
  • Ava (2020)
  • Iron Mask (2020)
  • Mad Max (1979) (new to 4K Blu-ray!)

Older Movies New to Streaming


  • Rust Creek (2018) (premieres Monday, November 30th)
  • The 2nd (2020) (premieres Monday, November 30th)


  • Bombshell (2019) (premieres Thursday, November 26th)
  • Centigrade (2020) (premieres Friday, November 27th)
  • The Big Ugly (2020) (premieres Sunday, November 29th)

Amazon Prime:

  • Bombshell (2019) (premieres Thursday, November 26th)
  • Life in a Year (2020) (premieres Friday, November 27th)


  • No other new movies on Shudder this week. Sorry!


  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014) (premiered Friday, November 27th)
  • Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog (1995) (premiered Friday, November 27th)

HBO Max:

  • The Call of the Wild (2020) (premieres Saturday, November 28th)

The Criterion Channel:

  • Thursday, November 26th: Short Films by W.C. Fields – Pool Sharks (1915), The Golf Specialist (1930), The Barbershop (1933), The Fatal Glass of Beer (1933), The Pharmacist (1933)
  • Friday, November 27th: Double Feature: Meet the Author – The Arbor (2010), Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987)
  • Saturday, November 28th: Saturday Matinee – The King and the Mockingbird (1980)
  • Sunday, November 29th: Directed by Terence Nance – No Ward (2009), Native Sun (2011), An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (2012), Their Fall Our All (2014), Swimming in Your Skin Again (2015), You and I and You (2015), Univitellin (2016), Jimi Could Have Fallen From the Sky (2017)
  • Monday, November 30th: Films by Rithy Panh – The Missing Picture (2013), Exile (2016)

The Shameless Plugs

Check out the Back Lot 605 Podcast Network on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and YouTube. Follow us on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Check out our movie friends Fat Dude Digs Flicks and Somewhat Random Movie Collection for some awesome reviews and movie insights! Check out every episode of the Back Lot 605 Podcast and the Killer Countdown!

About the Author
Derrick Veurink has been consuming anything and everything movie-related since he was 5, and is an encyclopedic fount of random movie information. He is an avid physical media supporter, and sees nearly every major theatrical release. (Yes, even "Playmobil: The Movie".)
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