Where have all the great Christmas movies gone? In years past we had classics like National Lampoon’s Vacation, Home Alone, The Grinch and this year Last Christmas.
Last Christmas starred Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding and was directed by Paul Feig. It was successful at the box office making $69 million in a month. It was also released in November way before the holiday season started. Festive flicks like Last Christmas have been hugely successful at the box office, but the biggest movies aren’t always the best according to Betway Sports. Christmas films are in higher demand than ever before. There’s one problem, though: the recent ones just aren’t very good. Take Last Christmas, the Paul Feig-directed romantic comedy starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, which was released in November. Despite being panned by the critics the George Michael-inspired flick has been a huge success at the box office, grossing $69.7m worldwide in less than a month. The same goes for The Grinch, the 2018 reboot of the Dr Seuss Christmas classic.
Film critic Nicholas Barber – who wrote a scathing review of Last Christmas for the BBC – says the dearth of modern festive classics is the result of a change in the wider film industry. “It’s about budget. Hollywood just isn’t investing in this kind of film anymore,” Barber says. “There aren’t that many low- or mid-budget British films these days. Everyone’s making Star Wars and superhero blockbusters. Then at the other extreme you’ve got tiny little indie films, experimental arthouse films. “There aren’t many films in the middle, and that’s where most Christmas films would have been.”
This year this seems to be the only Christmas related movie. There is one coming out called Black Christmas, a horror movie, which doesn’t seem to make any sense at all.
One place where you can find holiday movies is Netflix. They have seven films that can be streamed. “If I was a British film producer I’d definitely be making them.” That change is already happening on streaming platforms. Netflix released seven Christmas films in November and December this year, five of which were rom-coms. These cheesy flicks, like The Knight Before Christmas and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby, wouldn’t necessarily make the cut in the cinema. But they’re cheap to produce, they’re appealing to audiences looking for a feel-good film during the holidays, and they’re easy to binge, making them perfect for Netflix’s platform. Barber says those films are an example of a wider strategy for streaming services.
“When [Netflix] do is pump it out,” Barber says. “They’re behind some really great films, but essentially they’re about quantity over quality. “That’s not just about Christmas films, that’s everything. They put out this massive number of films, which has never been done before. “They’ve got so much money and it’s all about just getting tons and tons of content out there.” It’s easy to criticise the cheap-and-cheerful streaming movies that have effectively replaced straight-to-video releases.
Looking at the releases for December finds Bombshell, a new Star Wars movie, Jumanji sequel and 1917. None of these are holiday movies. Give me the classics and I am happy. And yes I am one to include Die Hard on that list. It’s debated every year if it is a holiday movie and I for one think it is. For a list of the top holiday movies of all time you can check out this list.
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