Families flock to films for Christmas

HARLINGEN — It ain’t over even when it’s over.

You’ve ripped open the presents, finished Christmas dinner, enjoyed all the hellos and goodbyes for awhile.

Now what? The movies, of course.

“It’s a tradition,” said Alfie Alaniz, who was going to see “All the Money in the World” with her mother Yolanda Riggins on Christmas Day.

Moviegoers wasted no time crowding the ticket counters yesterday afternoon at Cinemark, where the parking lot was just about filled to capacity.

“Star Wars,” called out one voice.

“Jumanji,” said another.

One disappointed voice bemoaned, “It’s already sold out.”

Regardless of what they were seeing, the mood was festive. A young woman strolled by with her arms pressed close to keep warm against a brisk chilly wind. The air was filled with the clattering of glass doors and the idling of engines from the cars pulled up to the curb.

A boy stepped firmly toward a window, yellow scarf fluttering in the wind, toward a teller wearing glittery green antlers.

For many Americans, both here and elsewhere, Christmas is the perfect day to see a movie. For some, it’s a way of destressing after all the festivities, for others it’s a tradition, and for others, well, it’s just “something to do.”

Movie houses often serve up their latest blockbusters. Teens may be eager to spend some fresh cash. And for many, it’s just another opportunity for people to spend some quality family time. See a movie and talk it up afterwards.

Charlie Briggs and his family waited to see “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”

“It’s something to do to kill time,” he said with a laugh, holding his 10-month-old daughter Aria in his arms. His other daughter Genesis, 6, lingered close by.

“We are here on vacation,” Briggs said. Then, gesturing toward his companion Sandra Merrill, he added, “She’s from the Valley. We’re about ready to head back home.”

Mary Garza, her husband Ray, and daughter Juliana were excited about seeing “Coco.”

“It’s about family,” she said about the movie. “This is what it’s about, the blessings that God has given us. Spending time with family. It’s about our Hispanic heritage.”

Yolanda was especially eager to see “All the Money in the World.”

“I have been wanting to see that movie because it’s a true story,” she said. “It’s about the Getty grandson kidnapping.”

She was referring to the 1973 kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III, grandson of American industrialist J. Paul Getty who founded Getty Oil Company. The movie opened yesterday.

So, there was something for everyone, from fantasy to family to international intrigue.