How the Grinch Stole Hollywood

Have you checked the offerings at your local megaplex lately? Have you noticed something missing in all the hot movie trailers that are out there?

The Los Angeles Times has the sad answer:

Movie studios to Santa: Drop dead.

For now, anyway.

It's hard to know how much is cultural, how much is financial and how much is cyclical. But whatever the reason, there isn't a single Christmas movie on studios' calendar this December.

There are, of course, a number of movies meant to appeal to family audiences: the Jack Black adaptation of "Gulliver's Travels," the latest "Chronicles of Narnia" installment, a "Tron" sequel. But movies having to do with snow, reindeer, Santa or anything else holiday are nowhere to be found.

There isn't even a darkly comic anti-Christmas movie, like a "Bad Santa" or "Christmas with the Kranks." (The lone Christmas release of any kind, Elle Fanning's "Nutcracker in 3-D," wasn't released by a studio and is a holiday turkey; about seven people have seen it since it came out two weeks ago.)

Things don't change much next year, either. There's only one major holiday release scheduled for 2011, the animated movie "Arthur Christmas" -- and that comes from the U.K.

As my colleague Dawn Chmielewski and I explore in a story in Tuesday's Times, there are plenty of explanations for the trend. Studios don't usually take sides in culture-wars debates. They do, however, pay attention to the shifting winds. And as Joe Roth, the former Disney executive who once shepherded holiday hits like "Home Alone" and "Santa Clause," says, holiday pictures just aren't where the creative or monetary Zeitgeist is circa 2010.

You get that? "Zeitgeist" is Hollywoodese for "fashionable" or "hip." Clearly, Hollywood is just not in the mood to celebrate Christmas and hasn't been for a couple of years given the lead time necessary to get a movie into the theaters.

It should be pointed out that some of the greatest Christmas movies of all time came out in the midst of the depression, so the economy can't be used as an excuse. More likely, the timeless themes in Christmas movies stick in the craw of Hollywood moguls who frown on wholesomeness and that ineffable "spirit of Christmas" - generosity and goodwill toward your neighbor.

Let them play Scrooge. We've still got all our classics to watch - films that are almost certainly better than anything Hollywood can spew out today.



Have you checked the offerings at your local megaplex lately? Have you noticed something missing in all the hot movie trailers that are out there?

The Los Angeles Times has the sad answer:

Movie studios to Santa: Drop dead.

For now, anyway.

It's hard to know how much is cultural, how much is financial and how much is cyclical. But whatever the reason, there isn't a single Christmas movie on studios' calendar this December.

There are, of course, a number of movies meant to appeal to family audiences: the Jack Black adaptation of "Gulliver's Travels," the latest "Chronicles of Narnia" installment, a "Tron" sequel. But movies having to do with snow, reindeer, Santa or anything else holiday are nowhere to be found.

There isn't even a darkly comic anti-Christmas movie, like a "Bad Santa" or "Christmas with the Kranks." (The lone Christmas release of any kind, Elle Fanning's "Nutcracker in 3-D," wasn't released by a studio and is a holiday turkey; about seven people have seen it since it came out two weeks ago.)

Things don't change much next year, either. There's only one major holiday release scheduled for 2011, the animated movie "Arthur Christmas" -- and that comes from the U.K.

As my colleague Dawn Chmielewski and I explore in a story in Tuesday's Times, there are plenty of explanations for the trend. Studios don't usually take sides in culture-wars debates. They do, however, pay attention to the shifting winds. And as Joe Roth, the former Disney executive who once shepherded holiday hits like "Home Alone" and "Santa Clause," says, holiday pictures just aren't where the creative or monetary Zeitgeist is circa 2010.

You get that? "Zeitgeist" is Hollywoodese for "fashionable" or "hip." Clearly, Hollywood is just not in the mood to celebrate Christmas and hasn't been for a couple of years given the lead time necessary to get a movie into the theaters.

It should be pointed out that some of the greatest Christmas movies of all time came out in the midst of the depression, so the economy can't be used as an excuse. More likely, the timeless themes in Christmas movies stick in the craw of Hollywood moguls who frown on wholesomeness and that ineffable "spirit of Christmas" - generosity and goodwill toward your neighbor.

Let them play Scrooge. We've still got all our classics to watch - films that are almost certainly better than anything Hollywood can spew out today.



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