Celebrate Christmas at BFI IMAX with Elf, Wonka, Die Hard and more

2nd November 2023

Tickets are on sale to BFI Members on 7 November and to the general public on 9 November. 

BFI IMAX is celebrating Christmas in style with a packed programme of festive films for humans of all ages, kicking off on 1 December with the 20th Anniversary re-release of ELF (Jon Favreau, 2003), which screens throughout the month in 4K IMAX with Laser projection. Meanwhile, families and adults who are young at heart can enjoy a trip inside Buddy the Elf’s Manhattan department store as BFI IMAX, London Waterloo, transforms into the Christmas floor of Gimbels with a complete venue makeover for the entire month.

One of the most anticipated new releases of the festive season can also be seen on the UK’s biggest screen in IMAX with Laser when WONKA (Paul King, 2023) opens on 8 December. PADDINGTON (2014) director Paul King takes on one of Roald Dahl’s most beloved characters, and Timothée Chalamet is a perfect fit as the genius sweetmaker whose adventures around the world feed into the creation of his delectable delights. 

Elsewhere, audiences can also celebrate the holidays with the 30th Anniversary of TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (Henry Selick, 1993) in 3D on 26 November and 13 December, along with THE POLAR EXPRESS 3D (Robert Zemeckis, 2004), which steams into the Waterloo venue from 15 December. Grown-up kids can picture themselves moonlighting as Bruce Willis in DIE HARD (John McTiernan, 1988), one of the greatest action spectaculars in cinema history, which plays on the UK’s largest screen on 16 December, while animation fans can revel in the mastery of TOKYO GODFATHERS (Satoshi Kon, 2003) on 14 December when a screening will be introduced by Ghibliotheque podcast creators Michael Leader and Jake Cunningham.

Rounding off this fantastically festive programme is an afternoon of Middle Earth adventure with THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, THE TWO TOWERS, and for its 20th anniversary, THE RETURN OF THE KING (Peter Jackson, 2001, 2002, 2003) on 17 December – once again an unmissable staple of the annual December release calendar.

Finally, screening at BFI IMAX as part of the BFI’s major UK-wide celebration of the greatest British filmmaking partnership of all time, Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell and Pressburger are two of their most beloved pictures. A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH (1946) on 23 December sees Emeric Pressburger’s wildly imaginative script matched by Michael Powell’s stunning visuals in this timeless classic, while their gothic masterpiece BLACK NARCISSUS (1947) on 30 December is one of the most radiantly beautiful of all Technicolor films and showcases the combined powers of the Archers team at the absolute height of inspiration. 

There truly is something for everyone this Christmas at BFI IMAX, and with a screen size equivalent to over 49,000 iPhone 14s, there is no better place to immerse yourself in the festive magic of cinema.

Meanwhile, across the road at BFI Southbank, the feast of festive programming continues with this year’s Christmas line-up, including THE BISHOP’S WIFE (Henry Koster, 1947), MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (George Seaton, 1947), SCROOGE (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1951), THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL (Brian Henson, 1992), TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (Henry Selick, 1993), TOKYO GODFATHERS (Satoshi Kon, 2003), CAROL (Todd Haynes, 2015) and TANGERINE (Sean Baker, 2015). Seasonal favourites playing under the BIG SCREEN CLASSICS banner, with tickets for just £9, will also include THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940), REMEMBER THE NIGHT (Mitchell Leisen, 1940), MEET ME IN ST LOUIS (Vincente Minnelli, 1944), IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Frank Capra, 1946) and FANNY AND ALEXANDER (Ingmar Bergman, 1989).


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