Though A Christmas Story is considered a classic now, the film was not an immediate hit. Luckily, the Parker family received the major award of fortunate timing. A Christmas Story was released just as VHS tapes were becoming popular. Video stores happily stocked the most recently available Christmas film, and its popularity grew as more and more families took home a copy. In honor of A Christmas Story’s journey to holiday triumph, here are some other films that went on Red Ryder-like adventures before becoming classics!
A Christmas Miracle: Frank Capra’s 1946 classic It’s a Wonderful Life initially bombed at the box office. In fact, the project put its director $525,000 in debt! The film’s popularity only grew when its copyright wasn’t renewed, and it entered the public domain. Excited to avoid paying royalties, TV channels began showing the film every holiday season. This angel certainly got its wings.
It Came Without Packages, Boxes or Bags: Like many television specials at the time, the 1966 How the Grinch Stole Christmas had to find corporate sponsorship to get made. The project’s creator tried to pitch his story to breakfast food makers, candy companies, and other usual suspects, but couldn’t get anyone on board. After trying over two dozen companies, he finally found a sponsor in a pretty unexpected place: the Foundation for Commercial Banks. The bankers’ hearts must have grown three sizes that day!
Believe In Your Elf: Jon Favreau’s 2003 movie Elf has become a beloved holiday treat for people of all ages. But the movie’s journey to be made took much longer than Buddy the Elf’s journey to New York. The movie was first discussed all the way back in 1993. At the time, Jim Carrey was attached to play Will Ferrell’s iconic lead part.
It’s Snow Joke: Hallmark holiday movies have become a true institution. In 2019, Hallmark plans to release 40 brand-new movies over the season, including two Hanukkah films. Shooting all of that cozy content can be quite the challenge. Many of the films are shot at breakneck speed, often in just about two weeks. Because of tight budgets and a need to shoot during the steamy summer months to meet holiday deadlines, Hallmark producers have had to instill a rule against snow as a central plot point. Even for a brief snowy scene, the snow budget might run up to $50,000!
- Caity Cook, CPH Gil & Karen Lauer Artistic Apprentice
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