For all of the hullabaloo of the holiday, once the gift-giving ended and breakfast was good and gone, Christmas yesterday was, for some, one . . . big . . . yawner.

So off they went to the movies.

Bedtime Stories.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Whichever. Whatever.

Because more important than what they saw, those indifferent moviegoers said, was finding a way to pass a day when nothing is open and nobody's around.

Except at the movies.

"It's kind of the only thing to do, and it's better than sitting on the sofa watching a movie," David Moore, 30, of Center City, said as he and a friend bought tickets for Benjamin Button at the United Artists Riverview Stadium theater on Columbus Boulevard.

"Usually we sit around and play with the toys and the kids, but we did that earlier today and dinner's not ready, so we decided to go to the movies," said Courtney Simpson. With Marley & Me tickets in hand, the Germantown grandmother waited in the theater to meet her daughter and 2-year-old granddaughter.

Some seized the day - seven major films were released in Philadelphia, the most ever on Christmas - as an excuse for a family outing.

"We're Jewish, first of all. We celebrate Hanukkah," Gary Labovitz, who lives in Toronto but was here visiting family, said in explaining why he had time on his hands. When his 12-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter said they wanted to see Marley & Me, they piled into the car with Labovitz's wife, two grandparents, and an aunt and an uncle.

At the AMC Loews theater in Cherry Hill, 13-year-old Chris Morris of Collingswood said he was simply doing on Christmas what he had done every year since he was 3. "It's a tradition," he said as he and his mother waited to see Bedtime Stories, another new release.

Not so for 60-year-old Don Davis of Cinnaminson, who, with his two sons, had never been to a movie on Christmas. "We're giving my wife plenty of time to get the meal prepared for us - and to get out of her way," he said.

Dennis Durkin of Haddonfield didn't pause in stating why he and his wife, Karen, were out to watch the 1:30 p.m. showing of Seven Pounds: "Boredom."

He expected to catch an 8:45 p.m. flight to Charlotte, N.C., to visit his sons, but that was hours away. "So after all the hootin' and hollerin' is done and we're done with the gift giving," Durkin said, "it's like, 'What do we do now?' "

For Susan Arbuthnot, a day at the movies was a chance to spend time with both of her teenage children. "It's something to do, and we're all together," she said as she headed back to her Cherry Hill home after the 11:25 a.m. screening of Gran Torino.

Up and out on Christmas in time for an 11:25 a.m movie?

"Yeah," said her husband, Joel. "We're ready for a nap."