Whatever your personal Christmas traditions may be, there’s a very high chance they include watching a few Christmas movies even long after the holiday season is over. These films are a staple of the holiday period; often espousing themes of family, love, and generosity, Christmas movies make us all think a little about how we behave towards our fellow human beings. Some studies even suggest that watching Christmas movies all year round is good for your health. We’ll reserve judgement on that one, but we do love a good Christmas film.
So, it seems, do the good folks at Betway, who have compiled an awesome list of the most popular and successful Christmas movies of all time. Some of your favourites may be on there, while others may just barely have missed out on the top ten. Whatever your own personal favourite Christmas movie may be, we’re sure you will agree that these ten are some of the most influential classics ever made. Without further ado, here, according to Betway, are the top ten biggest Christmas films ever. Some of our other writers may disagree, so you can what they listed instead.
10. A Christmas Carol (2009)
In at number ten, it’s Robert Zemeckis’ animated caper based on the classic 1843 Charles Dickens story. An all-star cast, headed up by legendary comic actor Jim Carrey as Scrooge, makes this movie essential viewing for anyone who wants to enjoy a warm, fuzzy Christmas story. Though the movie didn’t perform brilliantly with critics, it did manage to rake in a very respectable $125 million on top of its costs, so it clearly struck a chord with audiences.
9. The Polar Express (2004)
Can you believe it’s been fifteen years since the release of The Polar Express? This is another Zemeckis production, and although it garnered its fair share of criticism around what some perceived to be lifeless CGI in the human characters, its classic tale has stood the test of time. The Polar Express hasn’t quite washed its face in the budget department, making $311 million on top of its $165 million budget for a $146 million profit. Still, it’s worth revisiting.
8. While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Moving away from animated fare, While You Were Sleeping is a classic romantic comedy-drama with plenty of sentimentality, making it a perfect Christmas proposition. Sandra Bullock collects fares for the Chicago Transit Authority. One day, she saves a man’s life after a group of muggers push him onto the L-train tracks. What follows is a story steeped in emotional traditionalism but no less satisfying for it. The movie managed to make a staggering $165 million profit, so it must be doing something right.
7. The Santa Clause (1994)
The Santa Clause is a classic Christmas movie, make no mistake. Tim Allen stars as Scott Calvin, a man who must take up the mantle of Santa Claus after inadvertently causing the real deal to become injured. It’s not a difficult watch as a movie, but it’s full of the kind of festive family joy you want at a time like Christmas. With a budget of $22 million, The Santa Clause managed to reap a $168 million profit. If you haven’t seen it, seek it out; it’s well worth your time.
6. Elf (2003)
Will Ferrell is well-known for creating movies chock full of quotable lines, and Elf is no exception. We are all cotton-headed ninny muggins here, so we’re huge fans of Ferrell’s big-hearted Christmas extravaganza. So, it seems, were audiences; Elf managed to make $188 million in profit, which is a satisfying haul for any Christmas movie. We’re yet to see Ferrell make another foray into the world of Christmas cheer, so we’re hoping that Elf’s excellent performance will one day inspire him to do just that.
5. Love Actually (2003)
What is it about the year 2003 and great Christmas movies? This sentimental feelgood comedy from Richard Curtis…actually isn’t that feelgood. There are a number of subplots that make us tear up constantly (Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, anyone?), but the optimism and good-natured positivity of Curtis’ filmmaking shines through. Love Actually has grossed $205 million since its original release, which makes it a phenomenally successful film.
4. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Another Jim Carrey creation, How The Grinch Stole Christmas is loved by many and is considered something of a cult classic today. It’s pretty much worth watching for Carrey’s performance alone; it’s impossible to imagine a movie in which Jim Carrey is dull (except perhaps Joel Schumacher’s execrable The Number 23). Despite the source material’s playful tone, this isn’t an animated movie, and as far as we’re concerned it’s all the better for that decision.
3. Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)
Ah, that Donald Trump cameo. (Well, except in Canada) It’s surreal to go back and watch the surprisingly great Home Alone 2: Lost In New York now that Trump is the President, but it doesn’t change the movie’s sense of freewheeling fun. Macaulay Culkin is once again electric as Kevin McAllister, while Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern delight as the hapless Wet and Sticky Bandits. This is one of the few cases in which a sequel is almost as worthwhile as the original (more on which in a moment).
2. Dr Seuss’s The Grinch (2018)
Benedict Cumberbatch can, as far as we are concerned, do absolutely no wrong. That’s a creed he applies to this rather good 2018 animated version of the classic Dr. Seuss tale so memorably brought to life in 2000 by Jim Carrey. The cast here is star-studded; Angela Lansbury, Kenan Thompson, and Rashida Jones join Cumberbatch for the outing, while N.E.R.D.’s Pharrell Williams provides the music. The movie made $511.6 million dollars at the box office, which ain’t bad.
1. Home Alone (1990)
You must not be surprised by this one. Home Alone documents the high-flying antics of Kevin McAllister as he attempts to foil the efforts of two thieves to rob his home while his parents are out. It’s probably the only Christmas movie literally everyone likes (yes, even The Muppet Christmas Carol has its detractors), and its whopping $459 million profit – that’s just profit, remember, not overall takings – certainly agrees with that assessment.