By AWR Hawkins
Borrowed from Big Hollywood - Thank you
Recently, the LA Times carried a column in which Steven Zeitchik tied the absence of new Christmas films to a lack of interest on the part of filmgoers. To bolster his point, he referenced “a sack full” of Christmas movies that came out in 2006 and drew lackluster audiences at best. The examples he provided included Danny DeVito’s comedy, “Deck the Halls,” and a horror movie, “Black Christmas.” (If these are the kind of examples on which he’s going to rest his case, he might as well cite 2005’s disastrous “Dukes of Hazard” as proof that movies marketed toward good ol’ boys are dead and gone too.)
It simply makes no sense to uncover low audience figures for films that ought never have been made and then use those figures to argue that making Christmas films is not business-smart.
Earth to Zeitchik: The audience for Christmas movies is alive and well, the problem is that Hollywood has essentially said bah humbug to the idea of making one. When they do make them, we go.
Do you need proof? Consider Christmas movies that have debuted since the awful 2006 season Zeitchik cited: 2007’s “Fred Claus” made $72 million domestically, 2008’s “Four Christmases” made $120 million domestically (another $44 million overseas), and 2009’s “Christmas Carol” made $137 million domestically (another $187 million worldwide).
And perhaps an even stronger indicator that there’s an ongoing audience for Christmas movies is the fact that “Miracle on 34th Street” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” air multiple times every Christmas season. (Would television stations be carrying these same two movies time and again every Christmas were they not popular enough to attract advertisers, and thereby make money?)
It seems Zeitchik’s piece was really nothing more than a strained attempt to provide cover for Hollywood producers who are not in the mood to do a new film about Scrooge, because they’re too busy being a Grinch themselves.
While I concur that we don’t need any more Christmas horror films Mr Zeitchik, I cannot accept the bogus line that Hollywood has stopped making Christmas films because “Americans would rather come to theaters to see stories about pretty much anything other than Christmas.” And trying to convince Americans that there’s any truthfulness in that claim will prove about as hard as trying to keep Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrill), from singing in the Gimbel department store’s North Pole display:
“Buddy: I’m singing. I’m in a store, and I’m siiiiiingiiiiing! I’m in a store, and I’m siiiiiingiiiiing!
Gimbel’s Manager: HEY! There’s no singin’ in the North Pole!
Buddy: Yes there is!
Gimbel’s Manager: [There] is not!
Buddy: We sing all the time!
Gimbel’s Manager: [There] is not
Buddy: Especially when we build toys!”
We love Christmas as much as Buddy the Elf did, Mr. Zeitchik: Always have, always will.
So Hollywood producers can hiss at the idea of Christmas films all they want and journalistic flacks can reach back four whole years to cover for them when the more recent past doesn’t fit their left-wing narrative, but in the meantime we’ll be watching “Fred Claus,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “A Christmas Carol.” (Of course we’ll be watching “Elf” too.)