CINEMA: THE HOLIDAY STOCKING IS TOO FULL

YOU CAN'T TELL ALL THE YEAR-END MOVIE PLAYERS WITHOUT A SCORECARD--THIS ONE

It's crunch time for the movie business. Print labs, publicity machines, moguls' teeth--all are grinding overtime to get a bunch of pricey or prestige-laden films into theaters by Christmastime. You'd think Hollywood was Toys "R" Us, doing a Simba's share of business at year-end, or that releasing a serious film at holiday time helped win Oscars. No and no. The summer is still box-office prime time; and in the past five years, only six of the 25 Oscar nominees for Best Picture were released in December. Yet that is when studios launch dozens of ambitious films, as if Academy voters had...

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