The second weekend of December has become similar to the weekends before Memorial Day and Thanksgiving where big holiday blockbusters, or at least those with huge potential, are released in hopes they'll open big and carry through Christmas and New Year's Day to bring in even bigger business. No one knows the benefits of this sort of pre-Christmas release than director Peter Jackson, who had the three installments of his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy released in this slot between 2001 to 2003. This week, we see the release of the second installment of his second J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
(Warner Bros./New Line), and it faces some uncharacteristic and unprecedented counter-programming to boot in the form of Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas
This week's "CHOSEN ONE" is John Lee Hancock's Saving Mr. Banks
(Walt Disney), starring Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Paul Giamatti and more, plus we also dug David O. Russell's American Hustle
(Sony), starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner.