Jack Frost (1998 film)

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Jack Frost
The face of a man, morphing into a snowman
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTroy Miller
Produced by
Written by
Music byTrevor Rabin
CinematographyLászló Kovács
Edited byLawrence Jordan
  • Azoff Entertainment
  • The Canton Company
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • December 10, 1998 (1998-12-10) (Australia)
  • December 11, 1998 (1998-12-11) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$40–85 million[1][2]
Box office$34.6 million[2]

Jack Frost is a 1998 American dark fantasy drama film starring Michael Keaton and Kelly Preston. Keaton played the title character, a father killed in a car accident before coming back to life as a snowman. Three of Frank Zappa's four children, Dweezil Zappa, Ahmet Zappa, and Moon Unit Zappa, appear in the film.[3] Jack Frost was released in Australia on December 10, 1998, a day prior to its American release. It received negative reviews and became a box-office bomb, grossing just $34 million against a budget of $40-85 million.


Jack Frost is the lead singer in a rock band simply titled "The Jack Frost Band", based in the fictional town of Medford, Colorado, who make their living performing blues covers and an assortment of their own songs in the hope of signing a record deal. He returns to his 11-year-old son Charlie, who has just returned from a snowball fight against local bully Rory Buck. After they build a snowman in their front yard, Jack gives him his best harmonica, which he got the day Charlie was born, jokingly telling him that it's magical, and he will be able to hear it wherever he is. Jack promises his wife Gabby that he will attend his son's hockey game, but misses it in favor of recording a new hit song "Don't Lose Your Faith". To make up for it, Jack then promises to take his family on a Christmas trip to the mountains, but is then called in on a gig that could make or break his career. On his way to the gig, Jack realizes his mistake and borrows his best friend (and the band's keyboardist) Mac MacArthur's car to go to the mountains to meet his family. Unfortunately, Jack encounters a bad snowstorm that he is unable to navigate through due to the car's faulty windshield wipers and poor weather conditions, causing him to swerve off the road and crash, killing him instantly (off-screen).

A year later, Charlie, depressed over his father's death, withdraws from all contact with his friends. One night, Charlie makes another snowman that bears as much of a resemblance to Jack as he can remember and plays Jack's harmonica just before going to sleep. The harmonica turns out to be magical after all, as it resurrects Jack and his spirit awakens in the snowman. Thrilled to be alive again, Jack attempts to greet Charlie, but instead, he ends up terrifying him by mistake. The next day, Charlie discovers Jack in his yard and attempts to run away from him, leaving Jack feeling humiliated once more, but was determined to go after his son. When Charlie winds up in the snowball battlefield, Jack pelts Rory and the other children with snowballs and escapes with Charlie on a sled. After losing them, Charlie realizes that the snowman is his father after Jack uses his nickname "Charlie boy". Jack reconnects with Charlie and teaches him the values that he never got to teach him when he was alive. After some hockey lessons, Jack convinces Charlie to rejoin the team instead of continuing to grieve over his death, becoming their best player. In the meantime, Mac continues to be a friend of the family, while also becoming a father figure to Charlie at Gabby's suggestion.

As winter approaches its end, Jack begins melting and struggles to get to Charlie's hockey game. Afterwards, Charlie decides to take Jack to the mountains where it is colder, but has a difficult time convincing Gabby to do so. Charlie comes across Rory, who also insults the snowman by asking which is more stupid. After Jack speaks in front of Rory by correcting his last sentence, Rory then sympathizes with Charlie not having a father and helps him sneak Jack onto a truck en route to the mountains. Jack and Charlie arrive at the isolated cabin that the family was going to stay at before Jack's death. Jack calls Gabby, nonchalantly asking her to come to the cabin to pick up Charlie; Gabby is shocked, but recognizes his voice and obliges. Jack tells a disheartened Charlie that he has to leave. When his wife arrives, the snowman shell dissipates, revealing Jack in an ethereal form. Jack tells Charlie he will be with him wherever he goes and, after saying farewell and giving his love to both his wife and son, returns to the afterlife.

In the closing moments of the film, Charlie plays hockey with his group of friends (which now includes Rory), while Gabby happily watches and Mac plays music on the piano. The final street scene shows that all the front lawns have snowmen on them.


Live action[edit]


  • Denise Chershire Pearlman as Jack Frost (head operator)
  • Bruce Lanoil as Jack Frost (in-suit performer)
  • Denise Cheshire as Jack Frost (in-suit performer)
  • Allan Trautman as Jack Frost (additional puppeteer)


Both Joseph Cross and Mika Boorem starred together in the Touched by an Angel episode "Psalm 151". Cross and Michael Keaton starred together in Desperate Measures, which was released the same year.

The costume for Jack Frost's snowman form was created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.[4]

Principal photography began on March 16, 1998, and wrapped on June 23, 1998.

Music [edit]

The film features 22 tracks:

Not all of these songs are available on the soundtrack CD, however.

Featured on the CD release are:

1."Gimme Some Lovin'"Hanson 
2."Frosty The Snowman"The Jack Frost Band 
3."How"Lisa Loeb 
4."Father's Love"Bob Carlisle 
5."Hey Now Now"Swirl 360 
6."Sleigh Ride"Spice Girls 
7."Good Lovin'"Hanson 
8."Five Candles"Jars of Clay 
9."Can't Let Go"Lucinda Williams 
10."Leavin' Again"Steve Poltz 
11."Have A Little Faith"The Jack Frost Band 
12."Merry Christmas Baby"Hanson 
13."Wait For You"Fighting Gravity 
14."Frostbite"Trevor Rabin 


Box office[edit]

Produced on an $85 million budget, the film took $7 million on its opening weekend.[5] It went on to gross over $34.5 million in North America, becoming a box office flop.[2]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mostly negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 19% based on 57 reviews. The site's consensus states: "Sentimental schmaltz and uninspired storytelling sink this film."[6] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+ on scale of A to F.[7]

Roger Ebert gave the film one out of four stars, writing, "It's possible for the Jim Henson folks and Industrial Light and Magic to put their heads together and come up with the most repulsive single creature in the history of special effects, and I am not forgetting the Chucky doll or the desert intestine from Star Wars."[8] Ben Falk of Empire Magazine gave the film a three out of five stars, saying, "Despite an astoundingly dodgy-looking central character, this is a children's flick that doesn't apologise for being so and in an environment where even cartoons are stuffed full of gags purely for the grown-ups, that's remarkably refreshing."[9] Janet Maslin of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, saying: "As one more Hollywood effort to look on the sunny side of fatality, Jack Frost is so sugarcoated that it makes other recent efforts in this genre look blisteringly honest. On the other hand, it's just cheerful and bogus enough to keep children reasonably entertained."[10]


  1. ^ Andrew Hindes (December 20, 1998). "'Mail' shows a prophet". Variety. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=jackfrost.htm Box Office Mojo Amazon.com
  3. ^ "Jack Frost (1998) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast". AllMovie. December 11, 1998. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  4. ^ https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1998-12-11-9812110248-story,amp.html
  5. ^ Welkos, Robert W. (December 15, 1998). "Star Trek: Insurrection Melts 'Jack Frost'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  6. ^ "Jack Frost (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster.
  7. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  8. ^ Roger Ebert. "Jack Frost". rogerebert.com. Chicago Sun-Times.
  9. ^ https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/jack-frost-review/
  10. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1998/12/11/movies/film-review-dad-s-a-snowman-is-mom-santa.html

External links[edit]