Jump to content

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

Page semi-protected
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Santa Clause 3:
The Escape Clause
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Lembeck
Written by
Based onCharacters created
by Leo Benvenuti
Steve Rudnick
Produced by
CinematographyRobbie Greenberg
Edited byDavid Finfer
Music byGeorge S. Clinton
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date
  • November 3, 2006 (2006-11-03)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$110.8 million[1]

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause is a 2006 American Christmas comedy film directed by Michael Lembeck. It is the third installment in The Santa Clause franchise, following The Santa Clause (1994) and The Santa Clause 2 (2002). The film features Tim Allen returning as Scott Calvin, who must find a way to reverse a spell cast by Jack Frost (Martin Short) that caused him to lose his title of Santa Claus. Allen and Short had previously worked together in the 1997 Disney comedy film, Jungle 2 Jungle. Most of the supporting actors from the first two films reprise their roles, with the exception of David Krumholtz. As a result of his absence, Curtis (played by Spencer Breslin), who was previously the Assistant Head Elf, has now been promoted to Bernard's former position. This was Peter Boyle's final film to be released during his lifetime (2008's All Roads Lead Home was released posthumously). Its production was completed in February 2006.

The film was theatrically released in the United States on November 3, 2006, and grossed over $110 million worldwide. It received negative reviews from critics, with Rotten Tomatoes calling it "a bag of bland gags and dumb slapstick."


Twelve years have passed since Scott Calvin took on the mantle of Santa Claus. He is now married to Carol Newman, who is now a teacher in the North Pole.[a] On Christmas Eve, she tells a group of young elves a story from her life with Scott while expecting their first child. Scott invites his in-laws, Sylvia and Bud Newman, to the North Pole, along with Scott's ex-wife Laura, her husband Neil, their daughter Lucy, and Scott's son Charlie. Meanwhile, he is summoned to a meeting of the Council of Legendary Figures, consisting of Mother Nature, Father Time, the Easter Bunny, Cupid, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman, concerning the behavior of Jack Frost, who is jealous that he has no holiday or special occasion in his honor. Because he has been promoting himself during the Christmas season, Mother Nature suggests sanctions against him. As Scott is attempting to get the in-laws to come without revealing that he is Santa, Jack Frost negotiates a light sentence of community service at the North Pole, helping Scott and the elves put up various Canadian-themed paraphernalia, as Carol's parents believe Scott is a toymaker in Canada; Scott consents.

However, Frost's ultimate goal is to trick Scott into renouncing his position as Santa and taking it for himself. After he persuades the Head Elf Curtis to tell him about the "Escape Clause", Frost sneaks into The Hall of Snow Globes and steals Scott's snow globe containing him as Santa. If Scott holds the globe and wishes to have "never been Santa at all," he will go back in time and undo his career as Santa. When Lucy discovers this, Frost freezes her parents and locks her in a closet. He then orchestrates several accidents in order to pressurize Scott to the point where he thinks about resigning to make things better.

This causes Frost to trick Scott into invoking the Escape Clause and both are sent to Scott's front yard in 1994, when Scott caused the original Santa to fall off his roof and had to replace him. Frost causes the original Santa to fall off the roof and grabs Santa's coat before Scott can. Scott is sent to an alternate present, where he has been CEO of his old company for the last twelve years and business takes priority over family. Scott also learns that Laura and Neil divorced and Carol moved away years ago.

Scott goes to find Lucy and Neil, who are vacationing at the North Pole, which is now a theme park opened to visitors from around the world, where Scott learns that Frost has discontinued delivering presents and has instead focused solely on the commercialization of Christmas, the elves are miserable, the reindeer are confined to a petting zoo, and parents can pay for their kids to be placed on the nice list. Scott finds Lucy and questions Neil about Laura; he states that Scott's workaholic absence in Charlie's life put all the pressure on Neil, and Charlie didn't want him to be his father, causing the divorce between him and Laura.

Scott confronts Frost and causes a distraction and convinces Lucy to steal Frost's snow globe for him. Lucy throws the snow globe to Scott, but Frost catches it. Scott plays a recording of Frost saying "I wish I'd never been Santa at all" out of context from a novelty North Pole pen given to him by Curtis earlier, invoking the Escape Clause, sending both Scott and Frost back to 1994. Scott restrains Jack long enough to let his 1994 counterpart to put on the coat, making him Santa Claus again, sending both back to the present in the original timeline.

Scott reconciles with his family and Jack is arrested by elf police. He reveals he cannot unfreeze his victims unless he unfreezes himself, something he says he'll never do. Scott convinces Lucy via a snow globe he had given her earlier of her warmly hugging a snowman, to give Frost a "warm hug" to unfreeze and reform him. It works as Laura and Neil unfreeze and Frost becomes a new person. The "Canada" ruse is dropped and Scott appears as Santa to Carol's parents. With two hours remaining before Santa must leave for his Christmas deliveries, Carol goes into labor.

Months later, while Carol is telling the tale to her students, Scott walks in to reveal their son, Buddy Claus.



The film was shot from December 2005 to February 2006 at Downey Studios in Downey, California,[2] with Elfsburg Village being shot on Stage 1,[3] and the suburban scenes being shot on the studio's backlot.

The looks for Jack Frost and Mrs. Claus were originally different. Frost's initial appearance was more of an English 1960's look that was more impish and elfin, but the threat level was not up to the level that director Michael Lembeck wanted. Costume designer Ingrid Ferrin designed a new costume for Frost with a velvet zoot suit feel. Mrs. Claus's initial appearance was based on her end-credits dance scene in The Santa Clause 2. In that scene, Elizabeth Mitchell wore prosthetic makeup that made her appear round and chubby. After the second day of principal photography, Lembeck was not seeing any emotional content in Mitchell's performance due to the amount of makeup applied on her.


Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 17% based on 66 reviews, with an average rating of 3.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Playing Jack Frost as an evil cross between Liza Minnelli and Liberace, Martin Short is a welcome presence, but this tired series continues drawing from its bag of bland gags and dumb slapstick."[4] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 32 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

Erid D. Snider wrote that Allen did The Santa Clause "The first time with enthusiasm, the second time with affection and the third time for a paycheck". Kyle Smith wrote, "We're getting a turkey and a ham for the holidays. Santa is so dumb he should be demoted to cleaning up after Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys 'R' Us." Manohla Dargis dismissed the film as "Squeaky clean, but you might die of boredom." Finally, Mark Kermode described it on BBC Radio 5 Live as "the cinematic equivalent of tertiary syphilis".[7]

In a more positive review, Variety's Justin Chang said The Santa Clause 3 was "a much cleaner, more streamlined ride than its overstuffed predecessor", adding that "Michael Lembeck directs the action with a surer touch and more consistent tone than he brought to Santa Clause 2, and effortlessly pulls off the pic's sentimental, life-affirming moments without tugging too hard."[8]

Awards and nominations

Award Category Subject Result
Golden Raspberry Award Worst Actor Tim Allen Nominated
Worst Screen Couple Nominated
Martin Short Nominated
Worst Supporting Actor Nominated
Worst Prequel or Sequel Nominated
Worst Excuse for Family Entertainment Nominated

Box office

The first two films had become box-office successes during their opening weekends, but The Santa Clause 3 was beaten by Borat for the No. 1 spot.

The Santa Clause 3 made $84,500,122 in North America and a worldwide gross of $110,768,122.[9] The first film made $189,833,357 worldwide at the box-office while the second film made $172,855,065.

Home video

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on November 20, 2007.

Video game

A tie-in video game was released on November 1, 2006, for the Game Boy Advance, developed by 1st Playable Productions and published by Buena Vista Games.[10]

Sequel television series

A television series serving as a sequel, The Santa Clauses, was released on Disney+, with Tim Allen reprising his role as Scott Calvin / Santa Claus and Jack Burditt serving as showrunner and executive producer. Realizing he can't be Santa Claus forever, an aging Scott Calvin sets off to find a suitable replacement, while helping his children get used to a new adventure south of the pole.[11]

See also


  1. ^ As depicted in The Santa Clause 2 (2002)


  1. ^ "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on December 26, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  2. ^ "Former airplane hangars land supporting role in Hollywood". Chicago Tribune. 13 September 2006. Archived from the original on 2021-10-24. Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2020-11-27. Retrieved 2020-11-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on 2019-05-02. Retrieved October 6, 2021. Edit this at Wikidata
  5. ^ "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 8, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  6. ^ "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on February 17, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  7. ^ David Brown (2011-05-24). "Interview: Kermode and Mayo celebrate a decade of Wittertainment". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 2020-12-05. Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  8. ^ Chang, Justin (November 2, 2006). "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause". Variety. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  9. ^ "Lee's Movie Info". leesmovieinfo.net. Archived from the original on 17 July 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  10. ^ "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause". IGN. Archived from the original on 2014-06-07. Retrieved 2016-12-26.
  11. ^ "JUST ANNOUNCED: Tim Allen Returns to the Red Suit for the Santa Clause, a Limited Series for Disney+". 14 January 2022. Archived from the original on 15 January 2022. Retrieved 14 January 2022.

External links