WITH Christmas now approaching at an alarming rate, new releases must battle for screen time in cinemas that burst at the seams with festive returns.

Alongside all the usual favourites, Elf and Love Actually can currently be found on big screens up and down the country as part of their twentieth anniversary celebrations. Yes, you read that right. Two whole decades have now past since Alan Rickman betrayed Emma Thompson and Will Ferrell made spaghetti with maple syrup a thing.

Never one to miss out on the Yuletide fun, Skipton Plaza will be dusting off The Muppets Christmas Carol this weekend. Fans can enjoy the experience with mince pies, mulled wine and an appearance from Santa. What’s not to like?

Even this week’s widest new release arrives with a dusting of snow. Or rather, a veritable avalanche of it.

An adaptation of the Steven Dietz play Shooting Star, What Happens Later sees Meg Ryan and David Duchovny play ex lovers Willa and Bill who find themselves stranded at an airport when a snowstorm grounds their respective flights.

Ryan herself directs the film, which is, more or less, a two-hander for its seasoned stars. While, somewhat inevitably, the film never quite escapes its stagey shackles - a single setting can do that - it’s hard to complain too much in such excellent company.

Away from the big screen, this week also sees the streaming release of Aardman’s long awaited Chicken Run sequel, Dawn of the Nugget. Fans of the original can rest assured, it’s a welcome and winning return.

Having escaped the clutches of the wicked Mrs. Tweedy, Dawn of the Nugget finds its heroes still living their best happily ever after on the island they escaped to last time around. Ginger and Rocky, now voiced by Thandiwe Newton and Zachary Levi respectively, have a daughter to care for - Bella Ramsey’s Molly - and things have never been better. Or so they think.

On the mainland, trouble is brewing. Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) is back with a vengeance. Chicken pies was only the start. Having devoted all their energies to breaking out of the coup last time around, Ginger and co. must now break him back.

A who’s who of British talent can be heard behind the plasticine, with Jane Horrocks and David Bradley among those returning from the original. It’s great.