Lexington Park, MD = Every holiday season there is a new batch of holiday movies to sift through. Most of them are forgotten about right after the season but some stick with us and become a staple of our holiday festivities. Here is a look at some of the best and worst box office returns, along with their ratings.
According to Box Office Mojo, the highest grossing Christmas movie is the original Home Alone. The 1990 hit grossed $285.76 million domestically and $476.68 worldwide. The movie, viewed by many, has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 63%— fan score is 79%. The movie had an, at the time, fresh-faced child actor and only cost $15 million to make and became the highest grossing live-action comedy at the time, prompting FOX to make two more. Rotten Tomatoes states that Home Alone has an “uneven but frequently funny premise stretched unreasonably thin, is buoyed by Macaulay Culkin’s cute performance and strong supporting stars.”
Conversely, the site’s number one recommended Christmas movie— It’s A Wonderful Life— “received mixed reviews and did not break even at the box office,” according to the book “Hollywood Myths: The Shocking Truths Behind Film’s Most Incredible Secrets …” by Joe Williams. According to MentalFloss.com, the movie cost $3.7 million to make and only made $3.3 million. The web site credits the movie’s stint in public domain from 1974 to 1993 for its explosion in popularity in that time that has made it a holiday classic to this day.
Money spent does not guarantee a good Christmas movie, critically or financially. In 2010 a reimagining of the classic Nutcracker story was released, riding the wave of 3D movies at the time. “The Nutcracker in 3D”’s plot involves computer-generated rats trying to overthrow humanity and a nutcracker doll that turns into a real boy. The movie flopped in the box office, only making $195,459 domestically and $16 million worldwide, returning a fraction of the estimated $90 million budget. The movie sits at a %0 on Rotten Tomatoes, with one critic singing the movie’s high praise, stating, “It’s flawless in its flaws, without a single redeeming element to obscure its idealized awfulness.”
This year, Universal decided that moviegoers needed a third movie depicting Dr. Seus’s classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The original was released on television by Warner Bros. in 1966 and had a run-time of just 26 minutes. Thirty-four years later Universal took their first crack at converting the tale to the big screen. The second highest grossing Christmas movie of all-time stars Jim Carey as the green Christmas loather and made $345 million worldwide. Universal’s second crack at the movie hit theaters on Nov. 9 and has already climbed to the third highest grossing Christmas movie of all time, making $329 million worldwide. The original still rates the highest on Rotten Tomatoes, sitting at a comfortable 100 percent.
Here are the top 10 highest grossing (domestically) holiday movies with their Rotten Tomatoes score next to them:
1. Home Alone~$286 million, RT score-63%
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)~$260 million, RT score-52%
3. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018-still in theatres)~$226 million, RT score-57%
4. The Polar Express~$186 million, RT score-56%
5. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York~$174 million, RT score-30%
6. Elf~$173 million, RT score-83%
7. The Santa Clause~$145 million, RT score-74%
8. The Santa Clause 2~$139 million, RT score-55%
9. A Christmas Carol (2009)~$138 million, RT score-54%
10. Four Christmases~ $120 million, RT score-24%
The ultimate takeaway is that sales and critical acclaim shouldn’t be the primary factor when choosing what Christmas movie to watch. Many families create traditions around watching certain movies this time of year, regardless of how it’s measured. So, whether you watch “Christmas Vacation,” “A Christmas Story,” or “Elf,” make sure you do it with friends and family.
Contact Jerold at firstname.lastname@example.org.