Chances are high you and your family have a list of must-watch holiday films. You might watch one or two a week beginning the day after Thanksgiving.
Maybe you watch as many Hallmark movies as you can each year, or perhaps you turn the television to TBS and watch the 24-hour “A Christmas Story” marathon, shouting out your favorite lines while the movie plays in the background (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”).
Christmas films are always popular with viewers, though some more so than others. According to Box Office Mojo, these are the top 10 highest-grossing Christmas movies of all time.
1. “The Grinch” (2018)
“The Grinch” is the third on-screen adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” after the 1966 TV film and the 2000 live-action movie (more on that later). The film, which grossed $511,595,957, features narration by Pharrell Williams and the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely and Angela Lansbury. “The Grinch” largely follows the plot of the book and the other adaptations, with the Grinch (Cumberbatch) trying to ruin Christmas in Whoville by stealing presents and decorations.
2. “Home Alone” (1990)
Burglars aren’t usually a Christmas movie staple, but “Home Alone,” which grossed $476,700,000, isn’t your typical holiday film. Sure, the film is set during Christmas, and there are some sweet moments between family members, but the bulk of the film finds Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) defending his home from two ruthless burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) after he is accidentally left behind on the family’s trip to Paris, France.
3. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000)
On page or on-screen, people love the story of the Grinch. This time around, the Grinch is played by Jim Carrey, and the story is narrated by Anthony Hopkins. The cast also features Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon and a young Taylor Momsen pre-”Gossip Girl” as Cindy Lou Who. In this version, audiences learn a little bit more about the Grinch’s upbringing, and Cindy Lou Who is upgraded to a main character. It grossed $345,141,403 and features the Christmas song “Where Are You Christmas?” by Faith Hill.
4. “A Christmas Carol” (2009)
Turns out Carrey and Christmas classics are a strong combination. In “A Christmas Carol,” which grossed $325,286,646, Carrey voices the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Robin Wright, Cary Elwes and Fionnula Flanagan also lend their voices to the film, Disney’s third adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.”
5. “The Polar Express” (2004)
“The Polar Express,” which grossed $303,901,736, was not only a high-earner but also a record-breaker. The film was listed in the 2006 Guinness World Records as the first all-digital capture film. “The Polar Express,” based on the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, follows a young boy who joins other children aboard a train bound for the North Pole. Tom Hanks voiced multiple roles and executive produced the film. Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaya, Jimmy Bennett and Eddie Deezen voice supporting roles.
6. “Elf” (2003)
Will Ferrell dressed in an elf costume galivanting around New York City in search of his birth father. Who knew that would be a successful plot for a Christmas movie? The film, which grossed $220,885,524, also stars James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Daniel Tay, Bob Newhart and Ed Asner. The film inspired “Elf: the Musical” and a stop-motion special.
7. “The Holiday” (2006)
“The Holiday,” which grossed $205,135,175, stars Kate Winslet as Iris and Cameron Diaz as Amanda, two women from opposite sides of the Atlantic dealing with broken hearts during the holidays. After arranging a home exchange, Iris meets Miles (Jack Black) and Amanda meets Graham (Jude Law). As could be expected, sparks fly between the pairs, but not without a few ups and downs along the way.
8. “The Santa Clause” (1994)
The film might not start off on the cheeriest note, with Santa falling off a roof, but the Christmas cheer is soon back, as star Tim Allen dons the red suit and becomes the new Santa Claus, to the confusion of his son (Eric Lloyd), ex-wife (Wendy Crewson) and her new husband (Judge Reinhold). The success of the film, which grossed $189,833,357, led to “The Santa Clause 2” (more on that later) and “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.”
9. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” (2018)
Similar to “The Grinch,” “The Nutcracker” is a holiday classic, whether onstage or on-screen. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” which grossed $173,961,069, is a retelling of E.T.A. Hoffman’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and the Marius Petipa/Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ballet. Mackenzie Foy stars as Clara, while Keira Knightley, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Eugenio Derbez play supporting roles.
10. “The Santa Clause 2” (2002)
Fans of “The Santa Clause” rallied around the sequel, which grossed $172,855,065. All of the main actors from the first film reprised their roles in “The Santa Clause 2,” which found Allen trying to find a wife to fulfill the “Mrs. Clause” and dealing with a son (Lloyd) on the naughty list. The Council of Legendary Figures, including Mother Nature, Father Time, the Easter Bunny, Cupid, the Tooth Fairy and Sandman, also appears in the film.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter
Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.