Hollywood’s focus on big budget franchises has led to a dearth of good recent Christmas movies, leaving audiences returning to a diet of past hits such as Love Actually (2003), The Santa Clause (1994), Home Alone (1990) and The Polar Express (2004).
Research carried out by Betway reveals that the ten highest earning festive movies includes just one recent entry – 2018’s The Grinch – while IMDB’s list of the highest rated Christmas movies doesn’t contain a single film released after 2005.
Those which do make the grade include the original Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, and Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas.
While Paul Feig’s George Michael-inspired Last Christmas – released last month – did well at the box office despite a mauling by critics, the film feels very much like an anomaly in a year where December’s most anticipated film is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Film critic Nicholas Barber has told Betway that the absence of recent Xmas hits is down to cinema’s relentless pursuit of superhero franchises and a decline in the number of “low- or mid-budget British films”.
However he adds that fans of romantic and feel-good Christmas movies shouldn’t despair yet as Netflix seems on a mission to keep the genre alive having released a whopping seven Christmas films this November and December, including The Knight Before Christmas and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby.
While these films are unlikely to top any critic’s top films list, Barber suggests they draw enough subscribers to allow the streaming service pay for more acclaimed additions to their library, such as Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman.
Here’s Betway’s full list of the highest earning Christmas films and the most critically acclaimed: