The Santa Clause

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The Santa Clause
The Santa Clause.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Pasquin
Produced byRobert Newmyer
Brian Reilly
Jeffrey Silver
Written byLeo Benvenuti
Steve Rudnick
Music byMichael Convertino
CinematographyWalt Lloyd
Edited byLarry Bock
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • November 11, 1994 (1994-11-11)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$22 million[1]
Box office$189.8 million[1]

The Santa Clause is a 1994 American Christmas fantasy family comedy-drama film written by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick, and directed by John Pasquin. The first film in the Santa Clause film series, it stars Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, an ordinary man who accidentally causes Santa Claus (played by Tim Allen’s actual movie stunt double, Steve Lucescu) to fall from his roof on Christmas Eve. When he and his young son, Charlie, finish St. Nick's trip and deliveries, they go to the North Pole where Scott learns that he must become the new Santa and convince those he loves that he is indeed Santa Claus.

The film was followed by two sequels, The Santa Clause 2 (2002) and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006). In comparison to the original, the sequels each declined in critical favor.


Scott Calvin (Tim Allen), a successful toy salesman, prepares to spend Christmas Eve with his son Charlie (Eric Lloyd). Scott wants Charlie to maintain his belief in Santa Claus, despite not believing himself. Scott's ex-wife, Laura (Wendy Crewson) and her psychiatrist husband Dr. Neal Miller (Judge Reinhold) both stopped believing in Santa at a young age and feel that Charlie needs to do so as well. On Christmas night, Scott and Charlie are awakened by a noise on the roof. Scott investigates and finds a man standing on the roof, whom Scott startles into slipping and falling to the ground. The dead man's body disappears and leaves behind a red suit and business card stating that if anything were to happen to Santa Claus, whoever is responsible would have to put on the suit and continue from where Santa left off. Ensured by the card that "the Reindeer will know what to do" and to please Charlie, Scott dons the suit and spends the rest of the night delivering gifts before the reindeer take them to the North Pole. Once they arrive, Bernard (David Krumholtz), the head elf, explains to Scott that because he put on the suit, he is subjected to a legal technicality known as "The Santa Clause", meaning that he has agreed to accept all of Santa's duties and responsibilities, and gives him eleven months to get his affairs in order before reporting back to the North Pole on Thanksgiving. Confused and overwhelmed, Scott changes into the pajamas provided to him and falls asleep.

The next morning, Scott awakes in his own bed and believes that the events of the prior night were a dream until he sees that he is still wearing the pajamas that were given to him. Over the course of the following year, Scott undergoes a drastic transformation; he begins to gain a large amount of weight, especially a round, pudgy, jiggly belly. Also developing a thick beard that grows on his face in spite of attempts to shave it, and his hair whitens and proves immune to dyeing. Scott's altered state brings Laura and Neal to the assumption that Scott is deliberately attempting to confuse Charlie, and they successfully petition a judge to suspend Scott's visitation rights. Devastated, Scott goes to Laura and Neal's house on Thanksgiving. Desperate to help his father realize how important he is, Charlie shows Scott a magical snow globe that Bernard had given him, finally convincing Scott that he is Santa. After Scott asks Laura and Neal a minute to talk to Charlie alone, Bernard appears and transports him and Charlie to the North Pole. Believing that Scott has kidnapped Charlie, Laura and Neal contact the police.

At the North Pole, Scott sets out to deliver the gifts with Charlie in tow. However, upon arriving at Laura and Neal's home, Scott is arrested. The elves send a rescue team to help him escape from jail. Scott returns to Laura and Neal's house and manages to convince them that he is Santa, and asks Charlie to spend Christmas with them as they are his family too. Laura burns the court papers banning Scott's visitation rights and tells him that he can visit anytime. Bernard then appears and tells Charlie that if he shakes his snow globe at any time, his father will appear. Before leaving, Scott gives Laura and Neal two Christmas presents that they never got as children (which caused their disbelief in Santa). Shortly after he leaves, Charlie summons Scott back home with the snow globe. Laura agrees to let Charlie go with Scott for a short ride in the sleigh. Scott embraces his new role as Santa and leaves with Charlie to deliver the presents.



This film was entirely shot in the Greater Toronto Area. Oakville served as the city of Lakeside, Illinois.[2]


Box office[edit]

The Santa Clause grossed over US$144 million in the United States and Canada, and over $189 million worldwide, making it a box-office hit. The film has since gone on to become a Christmas classic. Freeform and AMC have played the film during the holiday season with record ratings.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received generally positive reviews from the critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a "Certified Fresh" approval rating of 71% based on 56 reviews, with an average rating of 5.86/10. The consensus from the site is "The Santa Clause is utterly undemanding, but it's firmly rooted in the sort of good old-fashioned holiday spirit missing from too many modern yuletide films."[4] On Metacritic the film has a score of 57% based on reviews from 13 critics.[5] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A- on scale of A to F.[6]

Home media[edit]

Towards the beginning of the film a brief exchange between Scott and Laura takes place in which Laura hands Scott a piece of paper with Neal's mother's phone number on it. Scott then says "1-800-SPANK-ME. I know that number." In the United States, the exchange was removed from all home media releases of the film starting with the 1999 DVD release after a 1996 incident in which a child from Steilacoom, Washington called the number (which turned out to be an actual, working sex line number) and incurred a phone bill of US$400 (equivalent to $652.07 in 2019).[7]


  1. ^ a b "The Santa Clause (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Reel Toronto: The Santa Clause". Torontoist. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
  3. ^ Natale, Richard (1994-12-12). "Disclosure Edges Out 'Santa' at the Box Office Movies: Much-hyped sexual-harassment drama pushes aside the Tim Allen heavyweight". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
  4. ^ "The Santa Clause". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  5. ^ "The Santa Clause". Metacritic.
  6. ^ "SANTA CLAUSE, THE (1994) A-". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  7. ^ Shelby Gilje (October 19, 1997). "Living | 'Santa Clause' Has A Line That Could Invite Trouble". Seattle Times Newspaper. Retrieved 2018-12-04.

External links[edit]