The holiday season is upon us yet again, and more exciting than the festivities is the number of Christmas movies that are going to crop up. From animations to rom-coms, the show of Christmas on the big screen is a culture that will never really go away. It lingers around year-in-year-out, and it doesn’t matter whether Macaulay Culkin is outwitting burglars in Home Alone or Madea is giving us comedy gold on A Madea Christmas. There have been more Christmas movies released than we can count. Here are those that made a killing at the box office:
1.‘The Grinch’ ($511 Million)
Released in 2018, the animated Christmas movie, The Grinch, is the highest-grossing Christmas film of all time. Upon release, the film amassed an estimated $511 million all over the world. Created off of How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, it is the third film released in the series, starring Jim Carrey. Narrated by ‘Happy’ hitmaker Pharrell Williams, the film also featured voices by Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, and Kenan Thompson. It was also the last film Dr. Seuss’ widow Audrey Geisel got to see released, as she passed away five weeks after its premiere.
2. ‘Home Alone’ ($476 Million)
Directed by Chris Colombus, Home Alone was the first installment of the Home Alone Christmas movies, the second being a sequel that was set in New York. In addition to being successful commercially, the movie, starring Macaulay Culkin as Kevin, not only earned an Academy Award nomination, but also a Golden Globe one as well. In playing his role, Culkin had to gain a little more weight. This he revealed during an interview with once the hardest working man on television, Regis Philbin.
3. ‘Dr. Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ ($345 Million)
The first adaption of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch series was released in 2000, and it happens to be the third-most-selling Christmas movie of all time. Jim Carrey, the film’s star, revealed that he almost quit playing the role, and, to get him to make a performance, he worked with a special agent trainer. Movie critic Roger Ebert wrote of Carrey’s performance: “Adults may appreciate Carrey’s remarkable performance in an intellectual sort of way and give him points for what was obviously a supreme effort, but the screenplay doesn’t give the Grinch any help. Of course, I may be wrong. As the Grinch himself observes, “One man’s toxic sludge is another man’s potpourri.” Or vice versa, I’m afraid.”
4. ‘A Christmas Carol’ ($325 Million)
When it comes to making Christmas movies, it’s safe to say that Jim Carrey is the man with the most luck. A Christmas Carol was released in 2009 and is based on Charles Dickens’ novel which was published in 1843. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a penny-pincher who hates Christmas in every way possible and eventually gets transformed into a more kindhearted person. In it, Carrey stars alongside Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Bob Hoskins.
5. ‘The Polar Express’ ( $314 Million)
According to the Guinness Book of Records, The Polar Express is a record holder for being the first all-digital capture film. The animated release was created off of a book by Chris Van Allsburg and tells the story of a boy who encounters a train headed to the North Pole on Christmas eve. Featuring Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, and Eddie Deezen, the film also marked the last work done by Michael Jeter, who passed away before its release.
6. ‘Elf’ ($220 Million)
Elf, released in 2003, tells the story of Buddy, a human being who finds a home in the arms of Santa’s elves. The film, starring Will Ferrell and James Caan, was produced on a $33 million budget and managed to gross way more than was spent in making it, eventually becoming the sixth most grossing film of all time. In an interview with James Corden, Ferrell revealed that at some point during filming, he thought the movie would be the end of his career.
7. ‘The Holiday’ ($205 Million)
Starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, who play the roles of Amanda and Iris respectively, The Holiday is a Christmas rom-com that tells the story of two women, who chose to swap homes in order to have a smooth Christmas season. Despite the storyline being thought to be predictable by a few critics, it was Kate Winslet’s first attempt at exploring the romantic comedy genre. “ I didn’t have anything to hide behind it all, and it took a little bit of getting used to. It was weird…it was very weird, and the panic of ‘Can I be funny?” Winslet said while promoting the film.
8. ‘The Santa Clause’ ( $189 Million)
The Santa Clause, released in 1994, was the very first installment of The Santa Clause series. The movie features Tim Allen as the star, alongside Wendy Crewson, David Krumholtz, Judge Reinhold, Eric Lloyd, and Peter Boyle, and inspired two sequels. While on set, Allen, who is not so fond of children, had to work with them as elves. He kept yelling at them until the director let him know that he needed to look at himself in the mirror. When Allen realized that, to the children, he was Santa, he had to be nicer and answer their questions.
9. ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ ($174 Million )
While most best-selling Christmas movies seem to have been released before the 2010s, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms helped bust this myth by being a production amongst the top that’s not a sequel to any ‘90s or 2000s movie. The film was released in 2018 and is based on an E.T.A Hoffmann story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. It features Helen Mirren, Misty Copeland, and Morgan Freeman, alongside its lead Keira Knightley.
1o. ‘The Santa Clause 2’ ($172 Million)
Besides The Grinch, The Santa Clause series is yet another Christmas movie to have two of its installations secure top dollar. Movie reviewer Roger Ebert had this to say about the film: “The movie is not a special effects extravaganza like “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” but in a way that’s a relief. It’s more about charm and silliness than about great hulking multimillion-dollar high-tech effects. The North Pole looks only a little more elaborate than a department store window, the Clone Santa’s troops look like refugees from “The March of the Wooden Soldiers,” and Santa’s mode of transportation is a reindeer named Comet who is not the epitome of grace.”