10 Amazing Facts About Santa Claus: The Movie You Probably Didn't Know

Even though Christmas passed a couple of weeks ago, its sensation still lingers on for some of us. If you’re like us and want to relive the wonderful moment of Christmas, you should definitely watch the movie Santa Claus: The Movie if you haven’t already.
For many of us Santa Claus: The Movie was the one movie that made us feel the most festive when we were kids. Santa Claus: The Movie, which debuted in 1985 and starred Dudley Moore as head elf Patch and David Huddleston as Santa, has gained a cult following.
Some even might argue that Santa Claus: The Movie is the greatest Christmas film ever made, but we don't want to go into that discussion right now. All we can say is that the film is a beloved holiday classic.
And while it may not be the Christmas movie that many remember the most these days, we nevertheless hold it dear to our hearts. Here are ten things about Santa Claus: The Movie you probably didn't know.

#1 The film was a box office flop

Source: Santa Claus: The Movie

It's safe to say that when Santa Claus: The Movie debuted in November 1985, expectations were quite high. It was one of the most costly Movies,ever filmed at the time, with a price said to be between $30 and $50 million, and it required an even greater blockbuster to recoup its costs.
Unfortunately, this did not happen, which is bad for the producers. Santa Claus: The Movie was a complete failure, earning only $23.7 million at the box office, and producer Ilya Salkind's cinematic career was basically over. The fact that the film was released just one week after the hugely successful Rocky IV definitely didn't help.

#2 James Cagney and Fred Astaire were considered to play the Ancient One

Source: Michael Ochs Archive / Stringer

The filmmakers had planned to cast a great cinema icon in the minor but important part of The Ancient One, the eldest and wisest of the elves. For this reason, James Cagney, who was 86 at the time, was the first person they offered it to. The actor, who would pass away in March 1986, six months after the movie's debut, is claimed to have appreciated the idea but rejected it because he was just too ill to take on any performing jobs.
When Fred Astaire didn't react to their offer, the filmmakers turned to Burgess Meredith, who was recommended by Dudley Moore, a friend of Astaire's. There was a certain irony in this because Rocky IV, the first Rocky film in which Burgess Meredith did not appear, outperformed Santa Claus: The Movie at the box office.

#3 It’s been called one of the worst Christmas movies ever

Source: Santa Claus: The Movie

Santa Claus: The Movie doesn't always receive favorable reviews. In reality, Santa Claus: The Movie is ranked among the worst Christmas movies ever in Alonso Duralde's book Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas. You won't be able to tear yourself away from it, he says, calling it "a train wreck of a Christmas movie."
At the time of writing, Santa Claus: The Movie had a 20% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This is somewhat less than Santa Claus Conquers the Martians from 1965, one of the most despised Christmas movies, which is rated 25% fresh.

#4 Dudley Moore named Patch after his own son

Source: Santa Claus: The Movie

Dudley Moore was initially slated to portray an elf named Ollie in Santa Claus: The Movie. The character was changed to Patch at the actor's own recommendation. In honor of his son Patrick, who went by the moniker Patch, Moore insisted on this name change.
Moore's run as a top box office attraction appeared to be coming to an end with the release of Santa Claus: The Movie. Moore essentially withdrew from the spotlight when the majority of his subsequent projects, including Like Father Like Son and Arthur 2: On the Rocks, underperformed. He sadly began to deteriorate his health in the late 1990s and died of pneumonia at the young age of 66 in 2002.

#5 Marvel did a comic book adaptation

Source: Marvel Super Special Issue 39

Santa Claus: The Movie, like other popular family films of the time, was turned into a unique one-off comic book by none other than Marvel Comics. At the time, the storied comics publisher was really having trouble making ends meet. To increase sales, it started its Super Special series, the majority of which were either adaptation of movies or television episodes or promotional tie-ins with other well-known brands.
The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade Runner, and problems centered around the rock band Kiss were all adapted into Marvel Super Specials in the past. Only two additional issues of the series—adaptations of the films Labyrinth and Howard the Duck—were released after Santa Claus: The Movie.

#6 Paul McCartney wrote songs for the film that were never used

Source: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Not just Freddie Mercury but other musical greats were sought for Santa Claus: The Movie's soundtrack. The joyful movie also received music from Paul McCartney, who created the original tune Once Upon a Long Ago. However, the song would eventually not be included in the movie for unclear reasons.
Instead, the ex-Beatle ended up releasing Once Upon a Long Ago as a single in 1987 and placing it on his compilation album All the Best! (The former Beatle had previously written and released a famous Christmas song of his own, 1979's Wonderful Christmastime.) It's interesting to note that some sources claim the song was initially envisioned as a duet between McCartney and Freddie Mercury, the other rock icon who nearly appeared on the soundtrack for Santa Claus: The Movie.

#7 Freddie Mercury almost sang the theme tune

Source: Fin Costello / Getty Images

It's Christmas, the power ballad theme song from Santa Claus: The Movie was written by Bill House and John Hobbs (All Over the World). The song's composers had Freddie Mercury of Queen in mind as the vocalist. Mercury reportedly did record a demo for the song, but ultimately had to drop out of the movie since the other members of his Queen band had already committed to the Highlander soundtrack.
Sheena Easton, who had previously sung the James Bond theme song For Your Eyes Only, took Mercury's place as the performer of It's Christmas (All Over the World). The Santa Claus: The Movie title song, however, failed to become a popular single.

#8 Harrison Ford and Dustin Hoffman were both considered for John Lithgow’s bad-guy role

B.Z., the avaricious and heartless head of the B.Z. Toy Company, serves as the antagonist in the film Santa Claus: The Movie. The character was first offered to Harrison Ford, Dustin Hoffman, Burt Reynolds, and even talk show host Johnny Carson, who all declined it. The producers had originally planned to cast a great celebrity in this role.
John Lithgow, who had recently become well-known for his appearances in Terms of Endearment and Footloose, ultimately won the part. Due to his "Grinch-like" look, producer Ilya Salkind realized Lithgow was a natural fit for the part.

#9 Dudley Moore was always the first choice to star

Source: Marvel Super Special Issue 39

Dudley Moore, who had been in talks to star in both Superman III and Supergirl, had a prior association with producer Ilya Salkind, just like director Jeannot Szwarc. The chief elf Patch in Santa Claus: The Movie was always cast as the British comedian-actor as a result. Moore was given creative control over the movie because of his celebrity status at the time.
Moore's little appearance in his last blockbuster movie, Arthur, led to his selection as Santa's most dependable elf. Liza Minnelli's character in the 1981 movie asks Moore at one point if he is "Santa's Little Helper" Producer Ilya Salkind was affected by this and immediately pictured Moore in a real-life role as one of Santa's helpers.

#10 It was almost directed by horror movie legend John Carpenter

Source: AVCO Embassy Pictures/Getty Images

For Santa Claus: The Movie, producers Pierre Spengler and Ilya Salkind had some unexpected filmmakers on their wish list. Spengler and Salkind approached the unexpected candidate John Carpenter, widely known director of such horror films as Halloween, The Fog, and The Thing when their initial pick Roger Donaldson was preoccupied with The Bounty (although he had also recently made the more upbeat sci-fi fantasy Starman).
Carpenter expressed interest in directing Santa Claus: The Movie, but he insisted on creative freedom that the filmmakers would not grant him and wanted Brian Dennehy to play Santa. Carpenter left without agreeing, and Jeannot Szwarc was hired to direct Santa Claus: The Movie. Szwarc, who is best known for Jaws 2, previously collaborated with producer Salkind on the 1984 film Supergirl.
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