This time of year you can always count on the seasonal movie classics finding their way into your home. Clarence will earn his wings. Ebenezer will change his ways before it's too late. Ralphie will get his Red Ryder BB gun. I'll get stuffed at the dinner table and ask the kids to turn off the video camera. Sorry, that last one was from my personal home video collection.

Despite the many endearing holiday flicks that have already been made, Hollywood keeps priming the pipeline with more potential Clarences, Ebenezers, and Ralphies. While I don't know how well Christmas With the Kranks will wedge itself into the crowded catalog of holiday celluloid, I'm guessing that Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) The Polar Express will fit in just fine.

The movie opens on Wednesday. A 3D version is also getting the Imax (NASDAQ:IMAX) treatment, making the big screen even bigger. Obviously the studio is plenty psyched to have a Christmas film opening more than six weeks before Christmas Eve. Based on the popular book of the same name, and with Tom Hanks leading the way, the animated feature should have a huge run. If not, and the local multiplex pulls the film off its screens by mid-December, the early release will be cruelly ironic.

Perhaps the biggest reason why the film is making such an early debut is that the theatrical release schedule is full of family-friendly films this year. Yes, it's that way every year, but this time it's particularly packed.

Pixar's (NASDAQ:PIXR) The Incredibles already opened strongly over the weekend, and that's only the beginning. Viacom (NYSE:VIA) hits the big screen next week with its first SpongeBob SquarePants movie. Next month it will be Fox (NYSE:FOX) with Fat Albert and Viacom with Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

All of them are gunning for blockbuster status, yet that is unlikely unless parents are ready to pitch a tent by the box office over the next few weeks to catch them all with their kids. So that's why The Polar Express is rolling into town so early. It's not necessarily a seasonally cocky move -- simply a preemptive one.

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Do you enjoy watching the holiday epics even in the lull of summer? Have you already decked the halls before Thanksgiving? Do you feel empty come January? You're not alone. All this and more -- in the Christmas Year Round discussion board. Only on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz relishes the holidays and knows way too many seasonal movie lines by heart. He does own shares in Pixar but not in any of the other companies mentioned in this story.