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34 Things You Never Knew About Famous Christmas Movies

Disney had to break their no ex-con policy to hire Tim Allen for The Santa Clause.


1. In The Nightmare Before Christmas, 24 frames were needed for each second of the movie. That’s why the whole film took three years to shoot.

2. And the film is based on a poem that Tim Burton wrote while working as an animator for Disney in 1982.

3. He originally wanted to adapt it into a 30-minute animation for Disney, but the project was shelved because it was labelled “too weird”.

4. Also, everyone assumes that Tim Burton directed The Nightmare Before Christmas, but it was actually Henry Selick.

5. The script for Elf first surfaced in the early ‘90s, and Jim Carrey was attached to play the lead role. By the time the movie got around to being made, he turned it down, probably because by that point he’d already played the Grinch.

6. The cotton balls that Buddy eats in the doctor’s office were actually undyed cotton candy. Will Ferrell was eating so much sugar while filming the movie that he was constantly wired and headachey.

7. Emma Thompson wore a fat suit for Love Actually.

8. The word ‘actually’ is said 23 times throughout the movie.

9. The girl who played Joanna voices Marceline in Adventure Time.

10. Hugh Grant really did not want to do that scene where he dances around the PM’s house, and put it off until the very last day of filming.

20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

11. According to the Home Alone director’s commentary, the photo of Buzz’s girlfriend is actually the art director's son, because the director thought it’d be too mean to make fun of a real girl like that.

12. John Candy shot all his scenes in one 23-hour day.

13. FYI, Angels With Dirty Souls isn’t a real movie. It was specifically shot for Home Alone.

14. Jack Black was hesitant to be in The Holiday because it is a rom-com, but changed his mind when he learned Kate Winslet would be in it.

15. Before filming the scene in the video shop, the crew removed all of Winslet and Black’s movies from the store so it wouldn’t be jarring.

16. Also, remember how Dustin Hoffman made a cameo in that scene? According to the DVD commentary, he wasn’t cast to be in it. He was just having lunch around the corner, and was roped into doing a scene because he knows the director.

Sony Pictures

17. The makeup that Jim Carrey had to wear in The Grinch was so uncomfortable that he had to get the same training that CIA agents get to help withstand torture. He said it felt like “being buried alive every day”.

18. His Grinch outfit was made of yak hair sewed onto a spandex suit.

19. Disney has a no ex-convict policy for all their employees, but made an exception for Tim Allen in The Santa Clause. (He got caught with cocaine in the ‘70s and served two years in prison.)

20. Though the role of Scott Calvin was originally written for Bill Murray.

21. Jingle All The Way was inspired by the '80s shopping craze for Cabbage Patch dolls.

Buena Vista Pictures
20th Century Fox

22. The scenes from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in the original Miracle on 34th Street were shot at the actual parade in 1946.

23. Although it’s obviously a Christmas film, the original Miracle on 34th Street was released in June, because of the idea that more people go to the cinema in warmer weather. The studio kept the plot secret, and none of the promo material had anything to do with Christmas. It wasn’t until audiences saw the movie that it was unveiled as a Christmas movie.

24. Macy’s was closed for half a day so all its employees could see the film on its release date.

25. Gremlins is another Christmas movie that was also released in June.

26. And each animatronic gremlin in the movie cost around $40,000 to make.

27. The creepy angel in A Muppet Christmas Carol was made by submerging a puppet into a tank of water, and using green screen to insert her into the film.

Warner Bros.

28. Jack Nicholson really wanted to play Ralphie’s father in A Christmas Story but they couldn’t afford to pay him.

29. The Nakatomi tower in Die Hard was actually the 20th Century Fox Headquarters. The studio charged themselves rent to film there.

30. Christmas Vacation was based on a short story written by John Hughes for the humour magazine National Lampoon in December 1980.

31. The Polar Express has the highest-selling holiday movie soundtrack since sales started being tracked in 1991.

32. Some of the early posters for Scrooged had the tagline: "Bill Murray is back amongst the ghosts. Only this time, there’s no-one to call."

33. In Bad Santa, "fuck" is said 173 times, and in Bad Santa 2, it's said 180 times.

34. It's A Wonderful Life actually bombed at the box office, but after a couple of decades it got heavy rotation on television stations and became the Christmas classic it is today.

RKO Radio Pictures