Cartoon Sandler, Sci-Fi Clooney, 'Treasure Planet' Take On 007, Harry Potter

Holidays, horror, action, animation and sci-fi romance in theaters.

Cartoons, cartoonish "extreme" action, a horror flick and an existential sci-fi love story are all hitting this week, hoping to capitalize on what's an extended weekend for most Americans.

Animated romp "8 Crazy Nights" sees Adam Sandler making a bid for holiday staple programming by bringing a couple of the characters from his songs to life on the big screen (see "Will Adam Sandler's Poopsicle Rank With Rudolph's Nose?"). "We draw it up and say, 'I think Eleanor would have a fat ass,' so that was easy to get down," Sandler said recently about the process. "[The animators] gave us a bunch of different ideas, showed us sketches and we would say, 'I think maybe Whitey's a little

older looking, a little shorter, a little more lopsided,' that kind of

stuff."

Disney's "Treasure Planet" goes the more traditional cartoon route, updating Robert Louis Stevenson's classic "Treasure Island" against a sci-fi backdrop. And though "Extreme Ops" is a live-action movie, it's filled with enough flashy "XXX"-style stunts and "Bullwinkle"-style villains to give any cartoon a run for its money, sci-fi or otherwise.

And speaking of sci-fi, George Clooney's "Solaris" may be set in the future and in space, but the film's creators are quick to point out that the artsy remake of a 1970s Russian flick is more of a love story than a "Minority Report"-style adventure. (Click to see photos of "Solaris.")

"It is more of a love story, certainly," director Steven Soderbergh

explained. "I don't think the film turns on ideas of what the future will be like, or what technology will be like 30 years from now. The movie's not really concerned with that. The premise is easier to explore in this science fiction context, because here is a guy who travels somewhere to the other end of the galaxy and finds this situation that could not possibly exist on Earth. And so that's helpful, to have that backdrop, but I didn't really consider it to be science fiction in the way that I think of science fiction

traditionally. Which I guess is, you know, laser guns and stuff. ... Which I like, but I don't know how to do."

Though moviegoers shouldn't expect to see Soderbergh's name attached to any "Star Wars"-type projects anytime soon, "Scream" director Wes Craven has slapped his name on another horror flick. "They" is billed as "Wes Craven Presents," though the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" creator neither wrote nor directed the supernatural murder mystery about a group of friends whose childhood nightmares may now be haunting them in real life.

All of these flicks will face off against the box-office might of "Die

Another Day" and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," which have ruled the box office for the past two weeks (see "James Bond Rolls Over Eminem, Harry Potter").

— Ryan J. Downey, with additional reporting by Nick Zano