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Trivia / Santa Claus: The Movie

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  • Actor-Inspired Element: Patch was originally named Ollie. Dudley Moore decided instead that the name should be changed, Patch being the nickname of his own young son, Patrick.
  • Billing Displacement:
    • John Lithgow, who is second billed and the main bad guy, doesn't appear until more than an hour into the film.
    • Burgess Meredith, who is fourth-billed, has one scene and eight lines.
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget: somewhere between $30-50 million. Box Office: in the U.S., $23.7 million. However, it airs on U.S. and British television at least once a year since its release — even in the 21st century — so it is fairly well-known if nothing else. The U.S. take was actually better, slightly or even significantly so, than several other high-profile releases of late 1985, including Clue, Young Sherlock Holmes, and the dueling Disney movie One Magic Christmas, and many of the year's other family-oriented films (Follow That Bird, Return to Oz, The Black Cauldron, The Care Bears Movie, etc.) for that matter. But with a far bigger budget to make back, it would have had to have been a world-beater blockbuster to show a profit, and it wasn't.
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  • Breakaway Pop Hit: New Edition recorded a cover version of "Christmas All Over the World" for their 1985 Christmas EP of the same title, which still receives airplay to this day in shopping malls and the like, whereas Sheena Easton's original version hasn't received so much as a CD release.
  • Dueling Movies: With Disney's One Magic Christmas, another movie that brought Santa Claus and the North Pole into the then-present day and opened just 5 days prior to this one in November 1985. Neither film was a box-office success. Santa Claus: The Movie actually opened the same day as Rocky IV, which sucked a lot of air out of the room and was the third-biggest film of its year, and was openly mocked in the press because it was far more expensive and thus the bigger flop. But it is far better remembered and liked these days; it has an excellent DVD package and a modest but affectionate following among kids who grew up with it. One Magic Christmas has a Vanilla Edition and is ignored by the company's most ardent fans; even the Christmas season and Disneycember haven't been enough reason for Doug Walker to so much as mention it as of 2019. It's rare for the non-Disney release to win a dueling movies battle, but this one has.
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  • Exiled from Continuity: Early development had Rudolph included alongside the traditional reindeer, but when the filmmakers realized he isn't a Public Domain Character this was nixed.
  • Mid-Development Genre Shift: This was initially going to be an all-out musical, but the genre's popularity was at a low ebb in The '80s so the producers changed their plans. Lyricist Leslie Bricusse was not happy to see his songs get marginalized in favor of some pop numbers, and his introduction to "Thank You, Santa!" in The Leslie Bricusse Songbook has him lamenting the whole production.
  • Old Shame: John Lithgow didn't have a good time on the set aside from working with Dudley Moore, finding the whole production "tacky". Ironically, as he explained to the AV Club in 2019, "it's half of what I'm known for in England" (where TV airings turned it into a Cult Classic).
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  • Saved from Development Hell: The film was first announced in 1978 with David Niven producing. Gene Kelly was going to direct and it was planned as an all-star affair.
  • What Could Have Been


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