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Your guide to the week ahead, Dec. 13 to Dec. 19

Posted: 6:49 PM, Dec 13, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-13 23:49:57Z

The force is strong with this one.

In easily one of the most anticipated movie releases of the decade, Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters on Thursday evening.

Looking for tickets for opening night? Good luck. Thousands of theaters have already sold-out opening night screenings, and scalpers are already selling their seats for up to $300 a seat.

Pre-sale tickets have almost guaranteed that The Force Awakens will be the biggest Box Office winner of the year. According to a report from Entertainment Weekly, Fandango has already sold eight times as many pre-sale tickets than its previous pre-sale record.

The Force Awakens is the seventh installment in the Star Wars series. It’s the first in the series since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, and the first produced by Disney and director J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Trek).

POLITICS

Debate
Tuesday marks the first GOP debate since the tragic mass shootings in San Bernardino, Calif. It also marks the party’s first debate since front-runner Donald Trump outlined a plan that would prevent Muslims from entering the country, regardless of citizenship.

Most presidential candidates and higher-ups in the Republican party have denounced Trump’s remarks. But polls have indicated that support for the bombastic businessman continues to rise.

A controversial plan discriminating against religion would leave most candidates vulnerable heading into a major debate. But Trump’s campaign has defied logic so far. Will his numbers continue to climb?

Spending bill
On Friday, President Obama signed a bill that extended a budget deadline and kept government agencies open into next week.

Sides came close to passing a sweeping $1.1 trillion spending bill last week, after congressional Republicans agreed to remove language from the bill that would have dismantled the Affordable Care Act and defunded Planned Parenthood. However, there is plenty of work to be done by Wednesday’s deadline, as both sides must work out spending issues — notably, a Democratic request to increase tax breaks for children.

WEATHER

Over the weekend, most of the Midwest enjoyed record-breaking warm temperatures for the month of December, as highs reached up into the 70s on a mostly sunny weekend.

Well, enjoy it while it lasts.

A cold front will move through the plains and the Rocky Mountains, bringing buckets of precipitation along with it. Snow should arrive in plains region by Tuesday, and the storm will continue into the Great Lakes region by Wednesday and Thursday.

Though early reports indicate that most of the country won’t see a White Christmas in 2015, there will be a full moon on Dec. 25 for the first time since 1977.

SPORTS

The Warriors have stolen the early headlines in the NBA, but lurking right behind them is a familiar foe: The San Antonio Spurs.

Even throughout Golden State’s historic 28-game winning streak and 24-0 start, the Spurs have kept pace with the Warriors nearly step-for-step. After Golden State dropped its first game to the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, San Antonio was only four games out of first place with a 20-5 record.

Power forward Tim Duncan (18th season, 9 points per game) continues to be an ageless wonder, rising star Kawhi Leonard is a defensive specimen (6-6, with the wingspan of a 7-3), and big-time free agent acquisition LaMarcus Aldridge (15.7 ppg) is finding his place on one of the deepest rosters in the league.

It seems the Spurs always have an answer for everything. 

MUSIC

2015 is quickly coming to a close, and two up-and-coming artists are looking to end the year with a bang with their new albums.

Cage the Elephant, an Indie Rock band from Bowling Green, Kentucky, will release its fourth studio album “Tell Me I’m Pretty” on Friday. The makers of “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and “Come A Little Closer” released the album’s lead single, “Mess Around” earlier this year.

Pusha T, a disciple of Kanye West and signed to his GOOD Music label, will release a “prelude” to his next album on Friday. Entitled “Darkest Before the Dawn,” the album will lead into his next project, “King Push” which is scheduled to be released in 2016. Pusha T has already stated the he feels “King Push” could contend for hip-hop album of the year.

 

TV

Network shows may be on their winter hiatus, but Netflix is pushing right through the holiday season with new original content. On Friday, the streaming service will release “F is for Family,” an animated series created by, written by and starring brash comedian Bill Burr.

An animated series set in 1970s America, Burr has said that the series will explore the rise of political correctness in the country.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.