OPENED WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18

“ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES” — Everyone’s favorite misinformed newscaster, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), leaves San Diego to take over the nation’s first 24-hour news channel with his co-anchor and wife (Christina Applegate), weatherman (Steve Carell), man on the street (Paul Rudd) and sports guy (David Koechner). Also starring Kristen Wigg. (PG-13 for sexual humor, language and comic violence.)

OPENING FRIDAY, Dec. 20

“AMERICAN HUSTLE” — Director David O. Russell travels back to the 1970s for this crime caper, inspired by the Abscam scandal, about two con men compelled to work with a wild federal agent to concoct a sting targeting New Jersey power brokers and the Mafia. Starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner. (R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence.)

“PHILOMENA” — An Irish woman enlists a journalist to help her track down the out-of-wedlock son she was forced by her Catholic community to give away for adoption in this drama based on Martin Sixsmith’s 2009 book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee.” Starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. Directed by Stephen Frears. (PG-13 for some strong profanity, thematic elements and sexual references.)

“SAVING MR. BANKS” — Emma Thompson plays P.L. Travers, the prim, protective author of “Mary Poppins” — and the one thing standing between Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and a promise he made to his daughters: that he’d turn the tale of a flying nanny into a motion picture. Also starring Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti and Jason Schwartzman. Directed by John Lee Hancock. (PG-13 for thematic elements including some unsettling images.)

“WALKING WITH DINOSAURS” (digital and 3-D versions) — Using photo-real 3-D animation, this family film re-imagines the prehistoric world when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. With the voices of Charlie Rowe, Karl Urban and Angourie Rice. Directed by Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale. (PG for creature action and peril, and mild rude humor.)

OPENING CHRISTMAS DAY (Dec. 25)

“47 RONIN” (digital and 3-D versions) — A fantasy-action film based on the traditional Japanese tale of outcast samurai who avenge their master’s murder. Starring Keanu Reeves and Rinko Kikuchi. Directed by Carl Rinsch. (PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, and thematic elements.)

“GRUDGE MATCH” — Sylvester Stallone plays Razor, an aging former champion lured out of retirement with a publicity stunt that pits him against his longtime nemesis, the Kid (Robert De Niro). Yes, it’s “Rocky” vs. “Raging Bull”! Also starring Kim Basinger and Kevin Hart. Directed by Peter Segal. (PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language.)

“THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY” — Ben Stiller directs and stars in an adaptation of James Thurber’s short story about an office worker whose vivid imagination sends him on an epic adventure, as he romances a co-worker played by Kristen Wiig. Also starring Shirley MacLaine, Sean Penn, Adam Scott and Patton Oswalt. (PG for some crude comments, language and action violence.)

“THE WOLF OF WALL STREET” — Leonardo DiCaprio teams up with director Martin Scorsese for the fifth time for this adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s memoir about his meteoric rise and inevitable fall as a corrupt stockbroker. Also starring Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Jean Dujardin and Spike Jonze. (R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence.)

AT THE ORION

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Atmos)

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”

Ending Monday, Dec. 23: “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

Opening Wednesday, Dec. 25: “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

HELD OVER

“THE CHRISTMAS CANDLE” (ends Tuesday, Dec. 24) — This spiritual movie from former presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s movie company tells the late-1800s story of a progressive minister questioning his faith who comes from London to preach to a small town famous for a magic candle that performs miracles. Starring Hans Matheson, Samantha Barks and Lesley Manville. Directed by John Stephenson. (PG for mild thematic elements.)

“DELIVERY MAN” — Vince Vaughn plays it fairly straight as a listless middle-age guy who finds out that a trip to the sperm bank in his younger years resulted in 533 offspring. And they’re trying to uncover his identity. Also starring Cobie Smulders and Chris Pratt. Directed by Ken Scott. (PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence and language.)

“ENDER’S GAME” (ends Tuesday, Dec. 24) — Director Gavin Hood adapts Orson Scott Card’s popular sci-fi novel about an unusually gifted boy (Asa Butterfield) drafted into military school by two officers (Ben Kingsley and Harrison Ford) who are helping defend Earth against an alien invasion. Also starring Viola Davis and Abigail Breslin. (Rated PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material.)

“FREE BIRDS” (ends Tuesday, Dec. 24) — Two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history. With the voices of Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler and George Takei. Directed by Jimmy Hayward. (Rated PG for some action/peril and rude humor.)

“FROZEN” (digital and 3-D versions) — In Disney’s latest musical adventure, Anna sets off in search of her exiled sister, the Snow Queen, who has a King Midas-like touch — only everything she rests a hand on turns to ice. Featuring the voices of Kristen Bell, Idini Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad. Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. (PG for some action and mild rude humor.)

“GRAVITY” (3-D and digital versions; ends Tuesday, Dec. 24) — Disaster strikes on a routine spacewalk involving a medical engineer (Sandra Bullock) and a veteran astronaut (George Clooney) who are left alone in the wide expanse of space, struggling for oxygen and a way back home. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. (PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language.)

“THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG” (four versions: digital, 3-D, digital with Atmos sound, 3-D with Atmos sound) — Behold the second installment of Peter Jackson’s trilogy of movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel. This time, Bilbo (Martin Freeman), along with Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the dwarves, soldier on, avoiding the dangers of wood elves and massive arachnids before arriving at Lonely Mountain, the home of the menacing treasure-hoarding dragon, Smaug. Also starring Richard Armitage. Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom and Cate Blanchett. (PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.)

“HOMEFRONT” — A widowed ex-DEA agent retires to a small town to be with his 10-year-old daughter, only to cross paths with a meth kingpin. Starring Jason Statham, Winona Ryder and James Franco. Directed by Gary Fleder. (R for strong violence, pervasive language, drug content and brief sexuality.)

“THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE” — After winning the 74th Hunger Games competition, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), the plucky heroine from Suzanne Collins’ dystopian trilogy of young adult novels, and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) face the aftermath of their victory. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jena Malone join the first film’s starry cast, which includes Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz and Stanley Tucci. Directed by Francis Lawrence. (PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language.)

“LAST VEGAS” (ends Tuesday, Dec. 24) — Four lifelong sixtysomething friends (Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) head to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. You know, like “The Hangover” but with the cast of “Cocoon.” Also starring Mary Steenburgen . Directed by Jon Turteltaub. (Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language.)

“NEBRASKA” (ends Tuesday, Dec. 24) — Director Alexander Payne tells the story of a cranky old drunk (Bruce Dern, who won a best actor award at Cannes) who goes on a road trip with his reluctant son from Billings, Mont., to Lincoln, Neb., to claim a million-dollar magazine sweepstakes prize in this black-and-white drama. Also starring Will Forte, June Squibb and Stacy Keach. (R for some language.)

“OUT OF THE FURNACE” (ends Tuesday, Dec. 24) — Writer-director Scott Cooper follows up his Oscar-winning “Crazy Heart” with this dark drama about a factory mill worker (Christian Bale) trying to keep his Iraq veteran brother (Casey Affleck) out of trouble. Woody Harrelson co-stars as the murderous leader of an underground fight ring. Also starring Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker and Willem Dafoe. (R for strong violence, language and drug content.)

“THOR: THE DARK WORLD” — In the second movie about the adventures of the hammer-wielding God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth), Thor must sacrifice everything he has to restore order to the cosmos when an ancient race threatens to destroy Earth and the nine realms. Also starring Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins and Tom Hiddleston. Directed by Alan Taylor. (PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content.)

“TYLER PERRY’S A MADEA CHRISTMAS” — Coaxed into helping a friend pay her daughter a surprise holiday visit, the stern, sassy matriarch Madea shakes up a small rural town preparing for its annual holiday celebration. Starring Tyler Perry, Kathy Najimy, Chad Michael Murray and Anna Maria Horsford. Written and directed by Perry. (PG-13 for sexual references, crude humor and language.)

— Compiled by the Yakima Herald-Republic