According to Ebates, the top grossing holiday movie since 1980 is Home Alone, which made $285.8 million.
Here are some movie facts, trivia and background on holiday movies.
Top-grossing Christmas movies since 1980
- Home Alone (1990), $285.8 million
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), $260.0 million
- The Polar Express (2004), $183.4 million
- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), $173.6 million
- Elf (2003), $173.4 million
- Gremlins (1984), $153.0 million
- The Santa Clause (1994), $144.8 million
- The Santa Clause 2 (2002), $139.2 million
- A Christmas Carol (2009), $137.9 million
- Four Christmases (2008), $120.1 million
- The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), $84.5 million
Highest Net Profit
- Home Alone, $268 million
- Home Alone 2, $154 million
- Gremlins, $142 million
- Elf, $140 million
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), $137 million
Biggest Net Loss
- The Nutcracker in 3D, $90 million
- Happy Christmas, $70 million
- Arthur Christmas, $54 million
- Jack Frost, $50 million
- A Christmas Carol (2009), $37 million
Trivia and background
- It's a Wonderful Life: The 1946 film made $3.3 million during its initial run, failing to break even after $3.7 million in costs. The film was shot in a California studio, but Seneca Falls, N.Y., claims to be the inspiration for the small-town setting. It returned from obscurity in the 1980s, going on to be so beloved that an original film poster sold for $15,535. The film was named by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made.
- Muppet Christmas Carol: It was the first major muppet project after Jim Henson's death. The puppet for the Ghost of Christmas Past was filmed underwater to create its ethereal, ghostly look before being superimposed onto the set background.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: 100 people worked for three years to create the 12 stop-motion moves made for every second of film. Because stop motion is such a time-consuming process, filming began before the script was completed.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Jim Carey's makeup took 8 hours to apply. No movie since the Wizard of Oz in 1939 had so many characters in heavy makeup. The costume designer looked to 1950s cookbooks as vintage inspiration for the 300 hats in the film.
- Love Actually: The airport footage at the beginning and end of the film was of real people greeting each other at Heathrow Airport. The nativity concert was filmed at the Elliott School in Putney, southwest London, which is also where Pierce Brosnan went to school.
- Bad Santa: To play a drunk Santa, Billy Bob Thornton got drunk during the filming. The non-traditional representation of Santa ruffled some feathers. Thornton’s reply: "As far as I know, Santa Claus is not in the Bible. I think you guys are talking about Jesus."
- A Christmas Story: The filming budget was $3.2 million. You can visit Ralphie's house in Cleveland, which is open for tours year-round. In 2004, a San Diego entrepreneur bought the house on eBay for $150,000. A longtime fan of the movie, he watched it frame by frame to draw up the plans for a $240,000 restoration back to the way it was in the film. Although none of the three "leg lamps" that were used during filming have survived, reproductions are available for about $200.
- Elf: Walter's apartment is in the same building as Dana's apartment in Ghostbusters (located at Central Park West in Manhattan). Will Ferrell's costume sold for $10,000.
- Polar Express: It's the first all-digital capture film, which got it listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. The conductor references director Robert Zemeckis' childhood home in Chicago when he says the street address, "11344 Edbrooke."
- Home Alone: A blizzard struck on the second day of shooting, which meant that fake snow had to be created for the rest of the filming. The suburban Chicago house that was used for both interior and exterior scenes sold for $1.58 million in 2012.