Everyone has their favorite Christmas movie. Whether It’s A Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, Elf, Home Alone, or the original A Christmas Story, there are plenty of strong holiday features that audiences gravitate towards. Speaking of A Christmas Story, the first film was a solid hit when it came out in theaters in 1983. Based on the book, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, A Christmas Story follows Ralphie Parker, who’s the typical youngster who has to deal with the school bully and dreams of his ideal Christmas gift, a “Red Ryder air rifle.” However, Ralphie’s dream feels far away as he struggles through the days leading up to the most wonderful day of a child’s life.
Though A Christmas Story wasn’t a smash hit like popular holiday films The Santa Clause or Elf, the 1983 feature became a cult sensation through its time on video and broadcast and has become a staple as one of the best Christmas movies of all time. The film ultimately had a theatrical sequel, 1994’s It Runs in the Family (later renamed My Summer Story), which bombed at the box office by making less than $100,000 throughout its entire run. A Christmas Story was at least able to make a good $69.6 million. There was another direct-to-video sequel, A Christmas Story 2, which naturally didn’t feature any of the original cast members and completely ignored My Summer Story. However, the original film did spawn a musical.
Of course, Hollywood loves money (as any rational business should), thus, a sequel is being made over 20 years later. A Christmas Story Christmas sees the return of Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker, who returns home to Cleveland and reconnects with friends to give kids a magical Christmas like the one he had growing up. Other returning cast members include Ian Petrella, Zack Ward, Scotty Schwartz, and R.D. Robb, with Clay Kaytis (The Christmas Chronicles, The Angry Birds Movie) as the director.
Billingsley is happy about returning to his most popular film to date as an actor. However, Billingsley has stayed in Tinseltown despite the lack of acting credits, but mainly as an executive producer who has done films such as Iron Man, Spider-Man: Far From Home, F is for Family, and another Christmas movie, Four Christmases, starring Vince Vaugh and Reese Witherspoon.
A Christmas Story came out during a pivotal time in Peter’s life as he was still developing as a teenager within the business. As documented by now, it’s not easy to make the transition from kid to adult in the world of Hollywood. What’s even more amazing is that Billingsley has been able to live with the fame up to this point, A Christmas Story is an extremely important film that the actor gets noticed for more often than not. “People keep watching it over and over and over and over,” says Billingsley. “It just doesn’t go away.”
With the popularity of the first film, it’s not surprising that a sequel is made, especially since Warners Brothers was so focused on boosting the appeal of their streaming site before David Zaslav stepped in and changed everything in front and behind the scenes. HBO Max’s future remains unknown; however, A Christmas Story Christmas is moving forward with its release date of November 17, and it should be fun to see the old cast back into the world of one of the best Christmas movies ever made.
Will it be better than the original? We’ll find out upon the release date, though it’s a streaming film so hopes aren’t exactly high. Nevertheless, the return of Peter and his friends should be a fun nostalgia trip.The Santa Clause
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