The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

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The Santa Clause 3:
The Escape Clause
The Santa Clause 3 - The Escape Clause (DVD cover art).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Lembeck
Produced by Robert Newmyer
Brian Reilly
Jeffrey Silver
Written by Ed Decter
John J. Strauss
Based on Characters created 
by Leo Benvenuti
Steve Rudnick

Karey Kirkpatrick
Starring Tim Allen
Martin Short
Elizabeth Mitchell
Judge Reinhold
Wendy Crewson
Eric Lloyd
Spencer Breslin
Liliana Mumy
Alan Arkin
Music by George S. Clinton
Cinematography Robbie Greenberg
Edited by David Finfer
Walt Disney Pictures
Outlaw Productions
Boxing Cat Films
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • November 3, 2006 (2006-11-03)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Budget $12 million[1]
Box office $110.8 million

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (or simply The Santa Clause 3) is a 2006 American Christmas fantasy comedy adventure film directed by Michael Lembeck. It is the third and final installment in The Santa Clause trilogy following The Santa Clause and The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause.

The film stars Tim Allen returning as Scott Calvin/Santa Claus and Martin Short as Jack Frost. Allen and Short had previously worked together in the 1997 Disney comedy feature film, Jungle 2 Jungle. Eric Lloyd returns in a smaller role as Santa's son Charlie, as do many of the supporting actors from the first two films, reprising their previous roles. However, David Krumholtz, who previously played Bernard the Arch-elf, does not appear in this one because of starring on Numbers, and so Curtis (played by Spencer Breslin), who was previously the Assistant Head Elf, has now been promoted to Bernard's former position. Like the previous film, this film was shot in the Canadian cities of Vancouver and Calgary. This was Peter Boyle's final film to be released before he died from cancer one month after its release (The 2008 film All Roads Lead Home would be released posthumously.).

Its production was completed in February 2006. The movie was released in theaters on November 3, 2006 in the US followed by a release date of November 24 for the UK. The DVD and Blu-ray were released on November 20, 2007 in the U.S. and November 12, 2007 for the UK.


A few years after the second film, Scott Calvin/Santa Claus (Tim Allen), and his wife, Carol (Elizabeth Mitchell), are expecting their first child as Christmas Eve approaches. Carol is missing her family, so Scott invites his in-laws, Sylvia and Bud Newman (Ann-Margret and Alan Arkin), up to the North Pole, along with his former wife, Laura (Wendy Crewson), her husband, Neil (Judge Reinhold), and their daughter, Lucy (Liliana Mumy), to keep Mrs. Claus company. Meanwhile, he is summoned to a meeting of the Council of Legendary Figures consisting of Mother Nature (Aisha Tyler), Father Time (Peter Boyle), the Easter Bunny (Jay Thomas), Cupid (Kevin Pollak), the Tooth Fairy (Art LaFleur), and the Sandman (Michael Dorn). Jack Frost (Martin Short) also arrives and is in trouble. He is jealous that he has no holiday or special occasion in his honor, and has been promoting himself during the Christmas season. Mother Nature accuses him of attempting to upstage Santa, and suggests sanctions against him. When Santa says that he is dealing with how to get the in-laws to come without revealing that he is Santa, Jack Frost manages to negotiate a light sentence of community service at the North Pole, helping Santa and the elves put up various Canadian-themed paraphernalia, as Carol's parents believe Scott is a toymaker in Canada.

However, Frost's ultimate goal is to trick Santa into renouncing his position, with unknowing help from Curtis who accidentally blurts out what the Escape Clause is and where it is. Thus, Jack Frost sneaks into Santa's hall of snow globes (which contain images of all the Santas throughout world history) and steals a special one containing Santa Claus (aka Scott Calvin) that will invoke the Escape Clause, in which Santa must hold the Globe and say "I wish I'd never been Santa at all" thus sending him back in time and undoing his career as Santa. When Lucy discovers this crime, Jack Frost freezes her parents and locks her in a closet after threatening to do the same to her if she tells Scott. Jack Frost causes trouble for the family that makes Scott think that he must resign to make things better.

Jack tricks Scott into invoking the Escape Clause and are both sent back in time to 1994. Jack Frost grabs the original Santa Claus's fallen coat first thus making him top man; Santa. In the new timeline Jack Frost in his Santa job has both shamelessly promoted himself and taken the commercialization of Christmas to an extreme bringing people to the North Pole and calling Christmas "Frostmas", whereas Scott Calvin has been the CEO for his old company for the last twelve years and works even on Christmas Eve. His non-Santa life is a disappointment, with his business taking priority over everything and Charlie loathing him for his lack of attention over the years. This has had effects on other people too, as Scott never married Carol (who has now moved away); and Laura was miserable in her remarriage to Neil, resulting in their divorce. Scott asks where he can find Lucy and Neil, and Laura sharply replies that the two have been visiting the North Pole every year since the divorce. She hands Scott a flyer which reads "The North Pole Resort", which Scott immediately recognizes as Frost's handiwork. Scott promises to set things right and so wanting his Santa job back he flies to the North Pole via commercial airplane and sees the offensive North Pole, which reminds him of a Las Vegas lounge, whereupon cheap songs are sung about "Frostmas", and parents pay to have their children put on the nice list (or poorer families can at least get a toy made for undeserving brats). Scott also sees how miserable the elves are, unlike the productive workers they were when he was Santa, and the Reindeer are all confined to a petting zoo, in front of a line of impatient children waiting to pet them.

He meets Neil and Lucy at the resort, where Neil expresses his resentment toward Scott for causing the separation between him and Laura. At a Broadway-style stage performance, Scott confronts Jack Frost as Santa Claus, who is still aware of his trickery on Scott and realizing he cannot reform Frost, Scott tricks Jack Frost into putting his voice of the Escape Clause on a microphone-like pen and then has Lucy, who is attending the carnival, go steal Jack Frost's snow globe and bring it to him; Jack Frost finds out and takes the globe but Scott then plays the recording of Frost saying "I wish I'd never been Santa at all" thus invoking the Escape Clause and causing him and Jack Frost to be sent back once again to 1994. Scott restrains Jack long enough to let the Scott Calvin of 1994 get the coat thus making him Santa Claus again and taking him back to the North Pole in the present and the family where no time has passed since.

Scott, back as Santa, reconciles with his family and is happier until he sees Lucy, who was freed by Curtis, and informed Scott what Frost did to her parents; Jack is arrested by elf police officers (elficers) and he reveals that he cannot unfreeze his victims unless he is unfrozen himself; Scott and Lucy then use a gift Scott gave her; a snow globe of her warmly hugging a snowman, to unfreeze Jack Frost and reform him to thus resolve the conflicts in the movie; the "Canada" ruse is dropped and Carol tells her parents she is Mrs. Claus, and Scott sees his new baby boy, named Buddy Claus, who is born just 2 hours before he must deliver Christmas gifts.


Critical response[edit]

The Santa Clause 3 received negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 15%, based on 65 reviews, with an average rating of 3.7/10. The site's 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." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 32 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[2]

Eric D. Snider, a reviewer, wrote that Allen did The Santa Clause "The first time with enthusiasm, the second time with affection and the third time for a paycheck."[3] 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 movie (in a three-paragraph review) as "Squeaky clean, but you might die of boredom." Finally, Nathaniel Bell wrote off the film as "Holiday filler, stuffed with unearned emotion and trite sentimentality." In the UK, Mark Kermode described it in 2006 on BBC Radio Five Live as "The cinematic equivalent of tertiary syphilis".

Awards and nominations[edit]

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[edit]

The first two films had become box-office successes during their opening weekends, but The Santa Clause 3 was beaten by Borat for the #1 spot.

As of February 7, 2007; The Santa Clause 3 made $84,500,122 in North America and a worldwide gross of $110,768,122.[4] The first film made $189,833,357 worldwide at the box-office while the second film made $172,855,065.

DVD & Blu-ray Disc release[edit]

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


External links[edit]