Christmas With the Kranks

Release Date: November 24, 2004

Movie of the Day for Tuesday, July 6, 2004
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Somewhere down the line, author John Grisham got tired of writing thrillers about lawyers who fight the system and then end up jaded and leaving their profession by the end of the book. Perhaps in an attempt to assuage this boredom, or maybe just because he's sort of Grinchy, he wrote the comedic novel, Skipping Christmas (retitled Christmas With the Kranks by the distributor).

Grisham must have been pretty pleased with the end result, because pretty quickly after publication, he and director Hugh Wilson, who had previously worked together to independently produce the film Mickey, thought they would tackle bringing this holiday-themed book to the big screen in the same fashion. Those plans never quite came to fruition, though, and Revolution Studios snapped up the rights instead.

In fact, Revolution Studios likes this novel so much that none other than the studio head himself, Joe Roth, is directing. Now, it should be said that while Roth has done a phenomenal job in making Revolution Studios a major player in the industry in the matter of only a couple of short years, he hasn't been in the director's chair that many times. Previous efforts include Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise and the more recent America's Sweethearts, along with the little-known Coupe de Ville and Streets of Gold. But hey, since then he's been hanging out while guys like Lasse Halstrom and Antoine Fuqua have been helming Roth-produced efforts, so he's almost certainly picked up plenty of new ideas.

To bolster the film's pedigree, Roth has obtained the services of a man who has unexpectedly become somewhat synonymous with Christmas by virtue of his starring roles in The Santa Clause and its sequel -- Tim Allen. He will be playing Luther Krank, who along with his wife Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) decide that they'd like to try a year where they ignore the holiday season's existence. They eliminate ribbons; they eliminate tags. They avoid all the packages, stockings and bags. The closet is home for the lights and the tree, and they ponder how wonderful Christmas without Christmas can be.

Some complications arise in their plans, of course. One of their neighbors who organizes the street's Christmas lights (Dan Ackroyd) becomes very annoyed and displeased by their refusal to participate. Making matters far more difficult, though, is the surprise arrival of their daughter, who expects the holiday celebration to go on as tradition dictates.

The movie really has everything going for it. The fact that John Grisham is responsible for the source material is more than enough to sell some people, and along with Allen's good Christmas karma and the marketing force of Sony and Revolution Studios (you'd better believe that this film is going the be the beneficiary of a tremendous push), it looks an awful lot like a big winner. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Christmas With the Kranks
Main Cast Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Ackroyd
Supporting Cast Jake Busey, Cheech Marin, M. Emmet Walsh
Director Joe Roth
Screenwriter Chris Columbus
Distributor Sony/Revolution Studios
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG
Running Time 98 minutes
Screen Count 3,393
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Christmas With the Kranks
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Elf 11/7/0331.11 31.11 3337 9324.00 9324.0 173.38 173.38 0.00
Santa Clause 2, The 11/1/0229.01 30.16 3350 8659.00 8659.0 139.23 144.75 4.80
Freaky Friday 8/8/0322.20 22.20 2954 7516.00 7516.0 110.22 110.22 0.00
Santa Clause, The 11/11/9419.32 28.55 2183 8850.00 12580.9 144.83 214.04 7.50
Bad Santa 11/28/0312.29 12.29 2005 6131.00 6131.0 60.06 60.06 0.00
Jingle all the Way 11/22/9612.11 16.52 2401 5044.00 6618.8 60.59 82.66 5.00
Joe Somebody 12/21/013.55 3.78 2506 1418.00 1455.6 22.74 24.27 6.36
Big Trouble 4/5/023.55 3.69 1961 1808.00 1808.0 7.26 7.54 2.05



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