Harry Potter pulled a disappearing act from Hollywood's fall and holiday schedule, his sixth big-screen adventure bumped from this November into next summer.
That leaves a little more room to roam at the box office for the likes of James Bond, a vampire heartthrob, the "High School Musical" kids and all those talking cartoon critters studios are about to unleash.
Highlights of what Hollywood has in store:
THE WORLD AT WAR
World War II is huge this season, with Tom Cruise, Daniel Craig and director Spike Lee all offering dramas touching on little-known aspects of the conflict.
In director Bryan Singer's "Valkyrie," Cruise stars as German Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, who led a group of insiders in a failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a briefcase bomb.
Craig stars with Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell in Edward Zwick's "Defiance," the story of Jewish brothers who escape the Nazis and set up a community of resistance fighters in Eastern Europe.
Spike Lee directs "Miracle at St. Anna," starring Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso and Omar Benson Miller as members of the all-black "Buffalo Soldier" outfit fighting in Italy.
LICENSE TO AVENGE
When we last saw Mr. Bond, the super-spy in the making was really steamed and looking for payback over the death of the love of his life.
"Quantum of Solace" picks up where "Casino Royale" left off, pitting Bond against a phony environmentalist trying to monopolize the water supply.
Also on the action front: "Heat" co-stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino reunite for "Righteous Kill," playing cops tracking a vigilante serial killer; Mark Wahlberg stars as a cop out to avenge the deaths of his family and partner in the video-game adaptation "Max Payne"; Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen are hired lawmen in the Western "Appaloosa," directed by Harris and featuring Renee Zellweger; and Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe team for Ridley Scott's "Body of Lies," about a CIA hunt for a terrorist mastermind.
LOVE AT FIRST BITE
"Twilight" is the good-girl, bad-boy romance based on the first book in Stephenie Meyer's series about an awkward teen (Kristen Stewart) who falls for a dazzling, eternally young stud (Robert Pattinson).
OK, so he's a vampire, but a nice vampire, from a family of bloodsuckers who eschew gnawing on human necks.
Other odd romances include "Ghost Town," a comedy with Ricky Gervais, Tea Leoni and Greg Kinnear, about a misanthropic dentist able to see ghosts who falls for the wife of one of the dead guys haunting him; and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," director Kevin Smith's tale of destitute best pals (Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks) who do a skin flick to raise cash.
LEO AND KATE
Their epic love was giddy, passionate, unshakable - until the ship hit the iceberg and sank. The stars of "Titanic," Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, share a far different love story in "Revolutionary Road," playing a couple whose marriage comes undone as they seek meaning amid the stifling conformity of the 1950s.
Among other big-screen reunions: Brad Pitt reteams with "Ocean's Eleven" accomplice George Clooney for the spy-game black comedy "Burn After Reading," from Joel and Ethan Coen (who are reuniting themselves with Clooney and co-stars Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins); Pitt rejoins "Babel" co-star Cate Blanchett for David Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald story about a man who ages backward toward infancy; and Nicole Kidman is back with "Moulin Rouge" creator Baz Luhrmann, co-starring with Hugh Jackman in "Australia," a tale of a British aristocrat and a roughneck driving cattle across the continent amid a Japanese attack during World War II.
One of Hollywood's most efficient filmmakers, perpetual Academy Award contender Clint Eastwood again cranks out two movies in short order. First, he directs Angelina Jolie in "Changeling," the story of a single mom coping with corrupt police who return the wrong child in place of her abducted son.
Then, Eastwood directs himself in "Gran Torino," playing a veteran whose prejudices are challenged in encounters with his immigrant neighbors.
Awards season is crowded with other serious films featuring past Oscar winners, among them "Milk," starring Sean Penn as slain gay political pioneer Harvey Milk; "The Soloist," with Jamie Foxx as a schizophrenic music prodigy befriended by a journalist (Robert Downey Jr.); and "Doubt," with Meryl Streep as a nun who suspects a priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) of abusing a boy.
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