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'Violent Night' & 'Puss in Boots' land atop list of Gen Z's most anticipated holiday movies

Who doesn't want to see David Harbour as an ass-kicking Santa Claus?!

By Josh Weiss
Violent Night (2022); Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)

Who wouldn't want to see David Harbour as an ass-kicking, John McClane-inspired Santa Claus? If that doesn't sound appealing, you are beyond our help. In any case, Universal Pictures' Violent Night (in theaters everywhere Friday, Dec. 2) ranks among Gen Z's five most-anticipated films of the holiday season, according to a new study in which Fandango polled over 1,000 individuals of the 18 to 24-year-old moviegoing demographic.

The other four titles on the list are DreamWorks Animation's Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Dec. 21), 20th Century Studios' Avatar: The Way of Water (Dec. 16), Disney Animation's Strange World (Nov. 23), and Paramount Pictures' Babylon (Dec. 23).

“Our study reveals that Gen Z adult moviegoers are planning to see multiple films at the theater this holiday season, motivated by new releases that demand to be seen on the big screen,” said Fandango VP Domestic Ticketing Melissa Heller. "Kicking off the holiday season early, Gen Z fans contributed to one of our best opening weekend pre-sales this year with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

An astonishing 96% of the study's participants claimed that visiting their local theater is among their favorite activities, while 94% affirmed they were satisfied with their cinema visits over the last year. In addition, 78% of responses show that Gen Z (the single largest segment of the population helping revive the box office) is seeing more movies on the big screen than before the COVID-19 pandemic dampened ticket sales.

"The fact that Gen Z audiences today love going to the movies is great news for movie theaters and filmmakers, considering that just a few years ago, all indications were that this influential and important audience had migrated from the big screen experience to much of the available filmed entertainment on their small screen devices," Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, tells SYFY WIRE. "Over the course of the pandemic, younger audiences came to embrace and covet the movie theater experience and interestingly have found the movie theater to become a focal point of social media influence."

He continues: "The holiday movie season is extraordinarily important to Hollywood and the success of Avatar: The Way of Water, Strange World, Babylon, Violent Night, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish will heavily rely on Gen Z audiences to bolster their box office results. Catering to this audience is going to be key for movie theaters now, in 2023, and beyond."

Directed by Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow), Violent Night rides a blood-soaked open sleigh into theaters Friday, Dec. 2. Helmed by Joel Crawford (The Croods: A New Age), Puss in Boots: The Last Wish follows several weeks later on Friday, Dec. 21.

In the mood for some holly jolly content in the run-up to Thanksgiving and Christmas? The beloved 1966 animated translation of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is now streaming on Peacock.