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Top Christmas films since 1980

Christmas movies have a long and robust lineage in the history of the film industry. In recent decades, we have been blessed with a wide spectrum of Christmas-related films, starring some of our favourite actors and voice artists. We take a look at the most popular examples.

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A Starry Christmas: Top Yuletide Films Since 1980

Christmas movies have a long and robust lineage in the history of the film industry. Since 1980 we have been blessed with a wide spectrum of Christmas-related films, starring some of our favorite actors and voices. Thanks to two of the most trusted film websites, we gathered data on the top grossing films, and how critics and audiences rate them, respectively. Interestingly, many of the top grossing films aren’t the most loved.

Top Grossing Christmas Films Since 1980*

* List of top 20 films compiled by Box Office Mojo. We acknowledge that there are Christmas-related films that aren’t included in this study, but for the sake of continuity and authority of the data, we left it up to Box Office Mojo to define this list for us.

Year Film Box Office Gross Worldwide Adj. For Inflation (2012 Dollars) Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics Rotten Tomatoes Score: Audience
2004 How The Grinch Stole Christmas $345,141,403 $464 million 53% 57%
2009 A Christmas Carol $325,286,646 $351 million 54% 72%
2004 The Polar Express $307,025,592 $307 million 56% 65%
1994 The Santa Claus $189,833,357 $304 million 80% 62%
2003 Elf $220,443, 451 $277 million 84% 73%
2002 The Santa Clause 2 $172,855,065 $222 million 55% 59%
1996 Jingle All The Way $129,832,389 $191 million 17% 42%
2008 Four Christmases $163,733,697 $176 million 25% 52%
2011 Arthur Christmas $147,419,472 $152 million 91% 78%
1989 Christmas Vacation $71,319,526 $133 million 63% 83%
2006 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause $110,768,122 $127 million 15% 57%
1993 Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas $75,082,668 $120 million 96% 89%
1988 Scrooged $60,328,558 $118 million 66% 67%
2004 Christmas With The Kranks $96,572,480 $118 million 5% 45%
2007 Fred Claus $97,838,349 $109 million 21% 49%
2003 Bad Santa $76,488,889 $96 million 77% 73%
1996 The Preacher’s Wife $48,102,795 $71 million 62% 55%
2007 This Christmas $49,778,552 $56 million 55% 82%
2006 Deck The Halls $47,231,070 $54 million 6% 43%
2006 The Nativity Story $46,432,264 $53 million 36% 74%


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