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 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 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.

This was Pasquin and Allen's first movie collaboration after they both worked together on the TV series Home Improvement. Pasquin and Allen would later work again on the films Jungle 2 Jungle and Joe Somebody, and on the television series Last Man Standing.

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 convinces Charlie that Santa Claus is real, despite not believing himself. Scott's former wife, Laura (Wendy Crewson) and her psychiatrist husband Dr. Neil Miller (Judge Reinhold) both stopped believing in Santa at a young age and feel that Charlie needs to do so as well. After Scott reads The Night Before Christmas to Charlie and tucks him into bed, Santa's sleigh lands on their roof and wakes Charlie. Charlie wakes up Scott, who hears Santa's footsteps on the roof and assumes that it is an intruder.

Rushing outside, Scott startles Santa, causing him to lose his balance and fall off the roof. Scott finds a card in the pocket of Santa's suit that states "If something should happen to me, put on my suit, the Reindeer will know what to do." after which Santa vanishes. Charlie climbs onto the roof via a ladder which has magically appeared and finds Santa's sleigh and reindeer. Scott follows him into the sleigh, which flies off to continue delivering presents. Persuaded by Charlie, Scott puts on the Santa suit and delivers a few 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. Overwhelmed, Scott changes into pajamas and falls asleep. The next morning, he wakes up in his own bed, causing him to believe that it was all a dream until he realizes he is wearing the pajamas from the North Pole. When Charlie proudly tells his class that his father is Santa, Laura, Neil, and the school principal ask Scott, whom they all believe is responsible, to tell Charlie that there is no Santa. Not wanting to break Charlie's heart, Scott instead convinces Charlie to keep their trip to the North Pole to themselves, to which Charlie agrees.

Over the course of the following year, strange things begin to happen to Scott. He acquires a liking for sweets, especially milk and cookies, begins to gain a large amount of weight, his beard starts fully growing back immediately after shaving, and his hair starts instantly turning white. He also begins to recount 'naughty' and 'nice' children by name after getting his "list" of children in the mail. After an incident in which several children approach Scott to ask for Christmas presents, Laura and Neil believe he is deliberately trying to undermine Charlie and successfully petition a judge to suspend Scott's visitation rights. Devastated, Scott goes to Laura and Neil's house on Thanksgiving, where Charlie shows Scott a snow globe that Bernard had given him, finally convincing him that he is Santa. After Scott asks Laura and Neil 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 Neil contact the police. At the North Pole, Scott sets out to deliver the gifts with Charlie in tow. However, upon arriving at Laura and Neil's home, Scott is arrested. The elves eventually send a crack team of extraction elves to rescue him. Scott returns to Laura and Neil'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 decides to burn the 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 Neil 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 74% based on 54 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10. 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 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 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 $639 in 2018).[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]