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7 Christmas Movie Sequels You've Probably Never Heard Of

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Whether it's A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or Die Hard, everyone has his or her own go-to Christmas movies. Then there are the holiday movies that have been consigned to the Island of Misfit Christmas Movie Sequels—movies that people don’t love, because they just plain don’t know about. (Though, admittedly, film quality may also often play a part.) Here are seven examples of the latter.

1. NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION 2: COUSIN EDDIE’S ISLAND ADVENTURE (2003)

Fourteen years after rolling up to Clark Griswold’s house in a run-down old RV in 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) got a seasonal saga of his own with the made-for-TV Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure. This time around, Eddie and his family—including wife Catherine (Miriam Flynn, reprising her role along with Quaid) and Ed Asner as “Uncle Nick”—find themselves celebrating Christmas while trapped on a tropical island. Matty Simmons, producer of the other four Vacation movies, wrote the screenplay. He has only penned one movie since, National Lampoon’s Pucked, starring Jon Bon Jovi. (Yes, that’s real.)

2. AND 3. HOME ALONE 4: TAKING BACK THE HOUSE (2002) AND HOME ALONE: THE HOLIDAY HEIST (2012)

You know about Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. You might know about the Macaulay Culkin-less Home Alone 3; it did get a theatrical release, after all. But, zombie-like, the franchise kept shambling along with two TV movies, released in 2002 and 2012. (We’ll be due for another in 2022.) The first, Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House, yet again puts Kevin McCallister (Mike Weinberg) in the position of having to defend his house—actually his divorced dad’s girlfriend’s house, where he’s spending Christmas—from thieves. Those thieves are played by French Stewart and Missi Pyle, the first stepping in for Daniel Stern as the dim-witted Marv.

Though Home Alone: The Holiday Heist opted for a brand new set of characters, the set-up is the same: Christmas, thieves, a booby-trapped house, etc. etc. The thieves this time around are played by Debi Mazar, My Name is Earl's Eddie Steeples, and … Malcolm McDowell?

4. A CHRISTMAS STORY 2 (2012)

Since time immemorial, TBS has captivated viewers with their 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story. No such love is given to its 2012 sequel, A Christmas Story 2, probably because no one realizes it’s a thing. This direct-to-video sequel takes place five years after the first movie; Ralphie, having worn down his father enough to get a Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle, now has his heart set on a car. The two films have no cast or crew in common; the biggest name in the sequel is Daniel Stern, who cut his Christmas chops on (some of) the aforementioned Home Alone movies. There’s actually an earlier, non-holiday based A Christmas Story sequel, titled My Summer Story (released in theaters in 1994 as It Runs in the Family), that follows Ralphie and his family's summer shenanigans. That one was written and directed by the same people who did A Christmas Story, though since it was made 11 years later, its core cast had to be replaced. Here, Ralphie and his parents are played by Kieran Culkin, Charles Grodin, and Mary Steenburgen, with Christian Culkin as Randy.

5. ELF: BUDDY’S MUSICAL CHRISTMAS (2014)

A year after NBC’s The Sound of Music Live! kicked off the current televised musical trend, the peacock network tried its hand with a new version of Jon Favreau’s modern Christmas classic Elf. OK, Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas isn’t really a sequel—it’s more a condensed mash-up of Elf and its musical adaptation, Elf: The Musical. Oh, and did we mention it’s in stop-motion? Jim Parsons voices the Christmas-loving Buddy, a human raised as an Elf at the North Pole, with voiceover expert (and Jedi) Mark Hamill playing his Scrooge-like father, Walter.

6. SANTA BABY 2: CHRISTMAS MAYBE (2009)

Back in 2006, ABC Family aired the made-for-TV Christmas movie Santa Baby, starring Jenny McCarthy as Mary, a woman struggling with the decision to leave her career as a high-powered businesswoman in order to go back home and help her father with his business when he becomes sick. Oh, and her father is Santa Claus. Santa Baby was so successful that it garnered a sequel, Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe. (Not, in fact, written by Carly Rae Jepsen.) This time around, Mary has to step in and save Christmas when her father has a midlife crisis and an agitator at the North Pole tries to get the elves to go on strike. Just what one expects in ABC Family Christmas movies: labor disputes!

7. RUDOLPH AND FROSTY’S CHRISTMAS IN JULY (1979)

There have been a handful of sequels to the classic Rankin and Bass Christmas special Frosty the Snowman, two of them by Rankin and Bass themselves. The first one, 1976’s Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, involves Frosty’s young friends building a wife for him, named Crystal. The second is ever-so-slightly more ambitious: One hour and 37 minutes long, compared to 25 and 24 minutes for the previous films, 1979’s Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July involves a plot by the evil wizard Winterbolt to destroy the magic that makes Rudolph’s nose glow. (It was put there by the Aurora Borealis. Just go with it.) Also present in Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July are: A circus, run by a character voiced by Ethel Merman; an evil carney trying to take over that circus; Santa in a hot air balloon; an evil reindeer named Scratcher; “Reinsnakes”; and a scene where Frosty, Crystal, and their two kids melt to death in the hot Florida sun. Merry Christmas!

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15 Festive Facts About Jingle All the Way
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

In all of Arnold Schwarzenegger's film oeuvre, Jingle All the Way might just be the one that most exhibits the ugliness of humanity. Set on a fevered Christmas Eve brimming with desperate last-minute shoppers, Schwarzenegger's Howard Langston and Sinbad's postal worker character Myron Larabee find themselves battling one another to make themselves look good to their sons by getting their hands on the elusive Turbo Man action figure. The comedic genius Phil Hartman; Rita Wilson; future young Anakin Skywalker, Jake Lloyd; Laraine Newman; Harvey Korman; Martin Mull; Curtis Armstrong; and Chris Parnell were the other willing participants in this cult comedy, directed by Brian Levant. Here are some things you might not have known about the contemporary holiday classic.

1. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER WAS ABLE TO PLAY THE LEAD BECAUSE OF A DELAY ON A PLANET OF THE APES REMAKE.

Arnold Schwarzenegger signed up to star in the Apes remake in March of 1994, but 20th Century Fox rejected multiple scripts for the movie, including one co-written by Chris Columbus (Gremlins, The Goonies). Columbus left the project in late 1995, and Schwarzenegger followed him soon after, freeing him to sign up for Jingle All the Way, produced by Columbus, in February 1996. Fox's Planet of the Apes reboot found its way into theaters in 2001, starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Tim Burton.

2. SINBAD THOUGHT HE SCREWED UP THE AUDITION.

Sinbad in 'Jingle All the Way' (1996)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Filming was delayed so that Sinbad could follow through on his commitment to travel to Bosnia with Hillary Clinton. Even though Columbus agreed to wait for him, the comedian still thought he "messed up" his audition and told his manager-brother he was going to quit show business.

3. OFFICER HUMMELL WAS INITIALLY WRITTEN AS A WOMAN.

Though the role of Officer Hummell was written for a woman, the part went to Robert Conrad. Conrad's explanation was that the producers "wanted someone who could pull up next to Arnold and tell him to pull over and he pulls over."

4. IT WAS CHRIS PARNELL'S FIRST MOVIE.

The future SNL star played the toy store clerk. "Well, it was my first movie role, and I didn't know how they typically shot scenes," Parnell admitted in a Reddit AMA. "So I had to laugh a lot, and I sort of spent all of my laughing energy in the wider takes, so by the time we got to the close-up shots, it was a real struggle to keep that going."

5. MARTIN MULL STAYED ON SET FOR OVER TWO WEEKS LONGER THAN HE WAS SUPPOSED TO.

Mull (KQRS D.J. a.k.a. Mr. Ponytail Man) was told it would just be a one- to two-day shoot for him. Unfortunately, his part had to be shot on a rainy day, and it didn't rain in Minneapolis for two and a half weeks.

6. PHIL HARTMAN MADE UP A BACKSTORY FOR HIS CHARACTER.


20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Hartman (Ted Maltin) was probably joking for the film's official production notes, but you never know. "Ted is a guy who sued his employer for headaches caused by toner fumes and now hangs around the neighborhood and helps all the housewives," Hartman said. He also offered a take on how he was kind of being pigeonholed in Hollywood when he added, "Ted's another weasel to add my list of weasels."

7. HARTMAN ENTERTAINED HIS BORED YOUNG CO-STARS.

To keep young E.J. De la Pena (Johnny Maltin) and Jake Lloyd (Jamie Langston) from getting bored shooting a car scene all day, Hartman improvised songs designed to bring kids to hysterics. One tune contained the lyrics “You make my butt shine, the more you kiss it, the more it shines! The clock is ticking, so keep on licking, oh how you make my buttocks shine!”

"When you’re an 8 year old hearing that kind of potty humor, it was hilarious!" De la Pena remembered. "And we had a lot of fun."

8. JAMES BELUSHI HAD EXPERIENCE PLAYING SANTA BEFORE.

Belushi sort of trained to portray the Mall of America Santa in the movie by playing Kris Kringle for four years in "about 20" different homes, according to his estimation.

9. SHOOTING BEGAN IN MID-APRIL.

The Minneapolis/St.Paul areas were chosen because the producers figured they had the longest winter. But they also filmed in Los Angeles' Universal Studios for the big parade over a three week span, where it was typical hot California weather on the verge of summer. Sinbad remembered it was 100 degrees on the days when he wore the Dementor costume, and the water in his helmet had started to boil.

10. THE REAL TURBO MAN DIDN'T SWEAT.

Daniel Riordan's Turbo Man suit ensured he wouldn't have trouble with the scorching heat. He was wearing a vest underneath used by race car drivers. "They're very thin membrane vests that are filled with small, plastic tubing that's tightly coiled, back and forth, and they run cold water through it," Riordan explained. "So when they run it, it's like this cold water right up against your body and it was amazing. The sensation was fantastic."

11. TURBO MAN FIGURES WERE SOLD AT WAL-MART.

200,000 were originally produced and sold at 2,300 Wal-Mart shops for $25. They would have made more but, as Fox’s president of licensing and merchandising explained to Entertainment Weekly, there were only six and a half months to produce and promote Turbo Man toys, and it usually takes "well over a year."

12. THEY ALMOST SOLD DEMENTOR DOLLS TOO.

Sinbad recalled that the studio didn't sell Dementor action figures even though they tested high during research. "I had a prototype of the doll but they said 'give it back, we'll get you the real one when it comes out,'" Sinbad said." ...And dude, it NEVER came out!" Sinbad told Redditers his theory: "I think that they didn't want the competition between Turbo Man and my doll."

13. SOME PARENTS HAD ALCOHOL-RELATED COMPLAINTS AFTER TEST SCREENINGS.


20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Schwarzenegger and Sinbad talking at a bar over some alcohol, and the fact that reindeer also imbibed in beer, were among some of the problems mothers and other early viewers took issue with.

14. THE FILMMAKERS WERE SUED FOR PLAGIARISM, AND LOST.

Randy Kornfield penned the official script, but high school teacher Brian Alan Webster alleged his Could This Be Christmas? script was very similar. The publishing firm that had the rights to Webster's script won a $19 million lawsuit from 20th Century Fox, but the ruling was overturned in 2004. Webster's screenplay was about “the quest of a Caucasian mother attempting to obtain a hard-to-get action figure toy as a Christmas gift for her son. In the course of this pursuit, she competes with an African-American woman, similarly seeking to give the action figure doll as a Christmas gift.”

15. THERE WAS A SEQUEL STARRING LARRY THE CABLE GUY.

None of the original cast members nor characters returned in the straight-to-DVD Jingle All the Way 2 (2014). It was produced by 20th Century Fox and WWE Studios and featured wrestler Santino Marella. Sinbad expressed incredulity when a Redditer inquired if he was asked to return for it. "What they are doing a new version without me! Ain't gonna work!"

Additional Sources:

Schaefer, Stephen: "Sinbad leaps at the chance to go postal in Jingle All the Way," December 6, 1996; Des Moines Register

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11 Single Facts About Bridget Jones’s Diary
Miramax
Miramax

While it's not officially a holiday movie, so much of the action in Bridget Jones's Diary happens around the most wonderful time of the year that the rom-com has become essential wintertime viewing for many movie fans. Based on Helen Fielding’s novel of the same name, it tells the story of a very single, and hopelessly romantic, working professional named Bridget (Renée Zellweger) who is determined to improve her love life. Enter two strapping gentlemen (Colin Firth and Hugh Grant) to vie for her heart. Get to know more about the timeless dramedy that’s been delighting audiences since 2001. Just as it is.

1. THE SOURCE NOVEL CAME ABOUT FROM AN ANONYMOUS COLUMN ABOUT SINGLE LIFE.

In the foreword of Bridget Jones’s Diary, author Helen Fielding wrote about how she came to conjure up the story: “The Independent asked me to write a column, as myself, about single life in London. Much as I needed the money, the idea of writing about myself in that way seemed hopelessly embarrassing and revealing. I offered to write an anonymous column instead, using an exaggerated, comic, fictional character. I assumed no one would read it, and it would be dropped after six weeks for being too silly.”

2. SEVERAL CHARACTERS ARE BASED ON PEOPLE IN HELEN FIELDING’S LIFE.


Miramax

These include Jude (Tracey MacLeod) and Shazzer (Sharon Maguire, also the film’s director). In a column for the Evening Standard, MacLeod described how she didn’t even realize she inspired part of her best friend’s story until Fielding’s book launch party. “At the launch party for the first Bridget book, I was cornered by a smug married friend, ‘So ... what's it like being Jude?’ she asked,” MacLeod writes. “I was outraged. Of course I wasn't Jude, with her self-help books and horrible boyfriend. My boyfriend wasn't anything like Vile Richard ... But as more people began to believe that Jude and Shazzer were thinly-veiled portraits of myself and Sharon, I secretly got to like the idea.”

3. TONI COLLETTE DECLINED THE LEAD, AND KATE WINSLET WAS CONSIDERED FOR IT.

Before Zellweger stole the show, Aussie Toni Collette and Brit Kate Winslet were up for the part. According to AMC, “Toni Collette declined the role because she was on Broadway starring in The Wild Party at the time, and Kate Winslet was considered but the producers decided she was too young.”

4. HUGH GRANT ONLY SIGNED ON WHEN RICHARD CURTIS WAS ANNOUNCED AS THE WRITER. 


Miramax

“The only reason [I was a hard sell] was because I didn't feel they had the script quite right for a long time,” Firth told Cinema.com. “And I kept saying, ‘It's not working. Just get Richard Curtis to come in and help rewrite it.’ Eventually they did, and as soon as Richard came on board, I signed on the dotted line. So that's all it was.”

5. RENÉE ZELLWEGER GAINED 17 POUNDS FOR THE PART.

Zellweger’s weight gain for the role had the media abuzz for a while. According to The Guardian, “In order to play the eponymous heroine in the film adaptation of Fielding's bestseller, the actress gained 17 pounds, consulting a dietitian and endocrinologist who devised a regime of three full meals a day, multiple snacks, and no exercise.”

6. ZELLWEGER WORKED AT PICADOR FOR THREE WEEKS.

Zellweger went full Method for her iconic role, and became a temporary employee of the Picador publishing house. “We came up with a plan: she would be Bridget Cavendish, Bridget for obvious reasons and Cavendish as she was to be passed off as the sister of Jonathan Cavendish, a friend of one of our company chairmen,” Picador publicist Camilla Elworthy told The Guardian. “That last bit at least is true, and no one was to know that Jonathan Cavendish was one of the film's producers.”

7. ZELLWEGER KEPT A PHOTO OF JIM CARREY ON HER DESK.


Miramax

While working at Picador, Zellweger kept a picture of Jim Carrey on her desk—which made her alter ego Bridget Cavendish seem like some sort of obsessed fan. “Under the name Bridget Cavendish, she answered phones, served coffee, and made photocopies—without being recognized by any of her co-workers, who offered career advice and wondered privately why she kept a photo of Jim Carrey (her then-boyfriend) on her desk,” noted Hollywood.com.

8. ZELLWEGER INVITED HER BOSS AT PICADOR TO BE AN EXTRA ON SET.

In Camilla Elworthy’s write-up for The Guardian, she noted how she became a part of the production. “Renée sent me a thank you letter and gift after she'd gone and I have seen her a few times since then," Elworthy wrote. "She invited me on to the film set one day. She informed me that I had to stick around and be an extra and made sure that I was put somewhere that I would be seen ... As a result, half my head can be seen for half a nano-second in the launch party scene.”

9. THE EPIC FIGHT SCENE BETWEEN GRANT AND COLIN FIRTH WASN’T CHOREOGRAPHED.

You can thank the two actors for the hilarity of the iconic scene. In a Vulture article about the greatest fight scenes in movie history, writer Denise Martin recalled the improvised spar, writing, “No stunt coordinators. No elaborate choreography. Just a perfectly realized wimp brawl between two upper-middle-class Englishmen coming to awkward fisticuffs in front of a Greek restaurant.”

10. FIELDING ASKED FRIEND SALMAN RUSHDIE TO CAMEO IN THE FILM.

Recalling how he came to be part of the film, famed novelist Salman Rushdie told Texas Monthly, “Helen Fielding, the author of the book, is an old pal of mine, and she asked if I’d come along and make a fool of myself, and I said, ‘Why not?’”

11. GRANT DIDN’T HEAR ZELLWEGER SPEAK IN HER AMERICAN ACCENT UNTIL THE FILM’S WRAP PARTY.

Zellweger was so engrossed with Bridget Jones that one of her leading love interests didn’t meet the real actress until the end of the shoot. “Not once did she stop speaking with that accent, until the wrap party,” Grant told Cinema.com, “when suddenly this weird ... Texan appeared. I wanted to call security, I didn't know who the f*ck she was!”

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