The Santa Clause

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The Santa Clause
The Santa Clause.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Pasquin
Written byLeo Benvenuti
Steve Rudnick
Produced byBrian Reilly
Jeffrey Silver
Robert Newmyer
Starring
CinematographyWalt Lloyd
Edited byLarry Bock
Music byMichael Convertino
Production
companies
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • November 5, 1994 (1994-11-05) (Hollywood)
  • November 11, 1994 (1994-11-11) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$22 million[1]
Box office$190.3 million[1]

The Santa Clause is a 1994 American Christmas comedy film written by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick, and directed by John Pasquin. The first installment in The Santa Clause franchise, it stars Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, an ordinary man who accidentally causes Santa Claus (played by Tim Allen's actual 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 released on November 11, 1994, and grossed $190 million. It received positive reviews from critics and it has since become a Christmas-time staple among viewers.[2][3][4] Its success led to two sequels, The Santa Clause 2 (2002) and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), which were both financially successful despite the mixed reception The Santa Clause 2 received and the negative reception The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause received.

Plot[edit]

Successful toy salesman Scott Calvin prepares to spend Christmas Eve with his son Charlie. Scott wants Charlie to maintain his belief in Santa Claus, despite not believing himself. Scott's former wife, Laura, and her psychiatrist husband Dr. Neil Miller, both stopped believing in Santa at a young age and feel that Charlie needs to do so as well (after an older kid made Charlie upset by saying Santa isn't real).

On Christmas Eve, Scott burns the turkey so he and Charlie go to Denny's for dinner. That night, they are awakened by a noise on the roof. Scott startles a man wearing a Santa suit standing on the roof, who slips and falls to the ground. The dead man's body vanishes, leaving behind a red suit and business card that states: "If something should happen to me, put on my suit. The reindeer will know what to do." Scott dons the suit and spends the rest of the night delivering gifts before the reindeer take them to the North Pole. Bernard the head elf explains that, by putting on the suit, Scott is subject to a legal technicality known as "The Santa Clause", and has accepted all of Santa's duties and responsibilities. Bernard gives Scott 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.

Awakening in his own bed, Scott thinks it was all a dream until he realizes he is wearing the pajamas. When Charlie proudly tells his class that Scott is Santa, Laura, Neil, and the principal ask Scott to tell Charlie that it was a dream but Scott instead asks him to keep it to themselves. Over the course of the year Scott acquires a liking for milk and cookies (and other desserts) and gains a lot of weight, along with a thick beard despite attempts to shave it, and his hair whitens and is unaffected by dyeing. After Laura and Neil witness children wanting to sit on Scott's lap at Charlie's soccer game they assume Scott is deliberately misleading Charlie and decide to have a judge suspend Scott's visitation rights which devastates him. At Thanksgiving, Scott goes to Laura and Neil's house to say goodbye to Charlie but Neil won't let him anywhere near Charlie. When Neil insists that Scott is not Santa, Charlie shows Scott a magical snow globe that Bernard had given him, finally convincing Scott that he really is Santa. When Laura and Neil allow Scott a minute to talk to Charlie alone, Bernard appears and transports him and Charlie to the North Pole. Thinking Scott has kidnapped Charlie, Laura and Neil call the police.

On Christmas Eve, Scott sets out to deliver the gifts with Charlie in tow. Upon arriving at Laura and Neil's home, Scott is arrested. The elves send a team to break him out of jail. Scott convinces Laura and Neil that he is Santa, and asks Charlie to spend Christmas with them as they are his family too. Laura burns the court papers suspending Scott's visitation rights, and tells Scott he can visit anytime. Bernard appears and tells Charlie that any time he shakes his snow globe his father will appear. Before leaving, Scott gives Laura and Neil the two Christmas presents that they never got as children, which had caused their disbelief in Santa. Scott proves his identity to the police before heading off, and Neil apologizes to Charlie who forgives him.

Charlie summons Scott back with the snow globe and Laura agrees to let Charlie go with Scott in the sleigh to finish delivering the presents.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The script was written on spec by Steve Rudnick and Leo Benvenuti.[5] In November 1992, it was announced Hollywood Pictures had acquired the script as a potential starring vehicle for Tim Allen.[5]

The film was shot at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California,[6] and on location in the Greater Toronto Area, with Oakville serving as the city of Lakeside, Illinois. The reindeer used in the film were all from the Toronto Zoo. The trains used in the North Pole scene and the start of the film were all made by LGB.[7]

Bill Murray and Chevy Chase[8] were offered the role of Scott Calvin, but both turned it down; Chase declined due to scheduling conflicts, and Murray did not want to do another holiday-themed movie after doing Scrooged. Tom Selleck, Tom Hanks, and Mel Gibson were also considered for the role. Jeff Daniels, Stanley Tucci and Bradley Whitford were considered for the role of Neil Miller. Patricia Richardson, Patricia Clarkson, Patricia Heaton, and Kate Burton were considered for the role of Laura Miller.[9][10]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The Santa Clause grossed $145.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $45 million in other territories, for a worldwide, total of $190.3 million.[11]

The film grossed $19.3 million in its opening weekend, finishing second at the US box office behind Interview with the Vampire which opened with $36 million.[12] It its second weekend it grossed $17.1 million, finishing third. Over the three-day Thanksgiving frame it then made $20.4 million.[13] In November 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting new releases, The Santa Clause was re-released into 1,581 theaters and grossed $711,000.[14][15]

Freeform and AMC have played the film on television during the holiday season with record ratings.[16]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 73% based on 59 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "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."[17] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 57 out of 100, based on reviews from 13 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[18] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade "A−" on scale of A+ to F.[19]

Sandi Davis of The Oklahoman ended up placing the film sixth overall on her list of the best films of 1994.[20]

Home media[edit]

At one point of the film, a brief exchange between Scott and Laura takes place in which Laura hands Scott a piece of paper with Neil'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 (except for the VHS and LaserDisc releases) and most digital downloads 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 $691.11 in 2021).[21] The line is also removed from the Disney+ print. On television broadcasts, the number is changed to 1-800-POUND.

The Santa Clause was released on DVD on October 29, 2002, and was presented in THX certified widescreen and fullscreen versions.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Santa Clause (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  2. ^ "Top Ten Christmas Movies Of All Time". Thetoptens.com. Archived from the original on June 18, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  3. ^ "The 50 Best Christmas Movies of All Time". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on November 7, 2015. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  4. ^ Patches, Dan Jackson, Matt (December 22, 2017). "The 50 Best Christmas Movies of All Time". Thrillist. Archived from the original on October 9, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "H'wood aims to nail Allen for 'Clause'". Variety. Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  6. ^ Rowan, Terry. Character-Based Film Sereies Part 1. ISBN 9781365421051.
  7. ^ "Reel Toronto: The Santa Clause". Torontoist. Archived from the original on 2013-05-24. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
  8. ^ Evans, Bradford (September 22, 2011). "The Lost Roles of Chevy Chase". Vulture. Retrieved July 16, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Bricker, Tierney (November 11, 2019). "25 Secrets About The Santa Clause Revealed". E!. Retrieved July 16, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Jackson, Matthew (December 19, 2019). "14 Festive Facts About The Santa Clause". Mental Floss. Retrieved July 16, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "The Santa Clause (1994): All Releases". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  12. ^ Klady, Leonard (November 15, 1994). "Playing the numbers". Daily Variety. p. 3.
  13. ^ "The Santa Clause (1994): Original Release". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on January 25, 2021. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  14. ^ McNary, Dave (November 22, 2020). "'Freaky' Repeats as Winner of Quiet U.S. Box Office With $1.2 Million". Variety. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  15. ^ "The Santa Clause (2020 Re-Release)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  16. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 2019-06-05. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
  17. ^ "The Santa Clause". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on 4 May 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  18. ^ "The Santa Clause Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2020-07-28. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  19. ^ "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on April 13, 2022. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  20. ^ Davis, Sandi (January 1, 1995). "Oklahoman Movie Critics Rank Their Favorites for the Year "Forrest Gump" The Very Best, Sandi Declares". The Oklahoman. Archived from the original on July 20, 2020. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  21. ^ Shelby Gilje (October 19, 1997). "'Santa Clause' Has A Line That Could Invite Trouble". community.seattletimes.nwsource.com. Seattle Times Newspaper. Archived from the original on 2020-02-26. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  22. ^ "The Santa Clause: Special Edition DVD Review - DVDizzy.com".

External links[edit]