Most Successful Christmas Movie Classics

While Christmas is mostly a time of cheer and goodwill to all, new research reveals that when it comes to Christmas movie classics, nothing pleases us more than flicks about home invasions and hostage negotiations.

No sooner has the last cracker sounded and the last fork clattered to the table, the sound of gunshots fills the air. It can only mean one thing.

Die Hard is on TV, and John McClane is at it again. Yippee ki-yay.

Like drinking raw eggs, Die Hard is one of those Christmas traditions that sounds so wrong but feels so right. On paper, there are more relaxing flicks to watch with mulled wine and mince pies in hand. But after Christmas dinner, and the usual squabbles over the last pig-in-a-blanket, nothing is more cathartic than watching helicopters explode for two hours.

But is Die Hard really the most popular Christmas film the world over? Or is there an even more universally-popular festive flick?

We threw data at the question to find out once and for all which is the most successful Christmas movie of all time.

Methodology

We took the top 50 Christmas movies as determined by renowned entertainment database firm IMDb. We then cross-referenced their user ratings with Rotten Tomatoes critic review scores, Google search trends and box office profits.

The 10 Most Successful Christmas Movies of All Time

Rank Christmas Movie
1 Home Alone
2 Die Hard
3 The Nightmare Before Christmas
4 Elf
5 Love Actually
6 Lethal Weapon
7 Gremlins
8 Edward Scissorhands
9 Batman Returns
10 While You Were Sleeping

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Home Alone nabbed the top spot. The classic MaCaulay Culkin caper remains a Christmas favourite around the world. As well as being well-received critically, it raked in $476 million at the box office, becoming the most lucrative Christmas flick ever.

In second place overall, Die Hard scored a 94% fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating, making it the critics’ Christmas darling. However, Elf remains the fan favourite by search volume, perhaps owing to the recency of its release (2003) compared with other films in the top 10.

On a more general note, the five highest grossing films – Home Alone, Batman Returns, Love Actually, Elf and While You Were Sleeping – all carry an age rating of PG-13 or below. So while broad appeal doesn’t guarantee commercial success, these findings indicate that it seems to help.

You can find complete data for the top 50 Christmas movies below.

Rank Title Worldwide Gross Profit Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score IMDb Rating Global Monthly Google Search Volume
1 Home Alone $476,684,675.00 79% 7.5 823,000
2 Die Hard $139,109,346.00 94% 8.2 368,000
3 The Nightmare Before Christmas $75,069,160.00 91% 8.0 1,000,000
4 Elf $220,236,410.00 78% 6.9 1,500,000
5 Love Actually $247,950,247.00 72% 7.7 673,000
6 Lethal Weapon $120,192,350.00 85% 7.6 673,000
7 Gremlins $148,168,459.00 77% 7.2 823,000
8 Edward Scissorhands $53,976,987.00 91% 7.9 301,000
9 Batman Returns $266,824,291.00 73% 7.0 110,000
10 While You Were Sleeping $182,057,016 79% 6.7 135,000
11 Serendipity $77,477,297 79% 6.9 673,000
12 The Perks of Being a Wallflower $33,069,303 89% 8.0 450,000
13 National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation $71,319,546 86% 7.6 135,000
14 Trading Places $90,400,000 85% 7.5 90,500
15 Arthur Christmas $149,717,124.00 76% 7.1 74,000
16 The Polar Express $319,090,241 63% 6.6 135,000
17 Bad Santa $77,147,031 75% 7.1 201,000
18 White Christmas $30,000,000 88% 7.6 246,000
19 A Christmas Story $20,605,209 88% 8.0 246,000
20 It’s a Wonderful Life $9,576,159 95% 8.6 246,000
21 Joyeux Noel $23,134,075 89% 7.8 165,000
22 The Santa Clause $189,800,000 65% 6.4 110,000
23 Scrooged $59,450,353 70 7.0 201,000
24 The Family Man $124,715,863 67% 6.7 40,500
25 Krampus $61,788,393 51% 6.2 673,000
26 The Nativity Story $46,309,644 75% 6.8 27,100
27 Just Friends $42,797,679 71% 6.2 135,000
28 The Night Before $52,427,346 61% 6.4 110,000
29 Black Christmas $16,235,738 75% 7.2 40,500
30 Four Christmases $168,311,558 47% 5.6 49,500
31 Friday After Next $33,526,835 75% 5.8 60,500
32 Jingle All the Way $129,832,389 38% 5.5 74,000
33 A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas $48,500,000 59% 6.3 8,100
34 The Ref $12,325,885 73% 6.9 14,800
35 Nativity! $6,875,564 67% 6.5 165,000
36 Christmas in Connecticut $3,000,000 75% 7.5 14,800
37 Christmas with the Kranks $96,469,187 37%% 5.2 74,000
38 One Magic Christmas $13,229,514 70% 6.7 8,100
39 All I Want for Christmas $14,812,144 59% 6.0 135,000
40 Jack Frost $34,645,374 39% 5.3 246,000
41 A Christmas Tale $6,648,639 66% 7.1 3,600
42 Prancer $16,115,398 58% 6.3 14,800
43 Deck the Halls $46,815,807 30% 4.9 90,500
44 Eight Crazy Nights $23,607,202 49% 5.3 14,800
45 Reindeer Games $23,360,779 27% 5.7 33,100
46 Mixed Nuts $6,670,176 46% 5.4 90,500
47 I’ll Be Home for Christmas $12,214,338 41% 5.4 49,500
48 Nothing Like the Holidays $7,519,490 41% 6.1 5,400
49 Trapped in Paradise $6,017,509 40% 5.9 5,400
50 Surviving Christmas $14,328,813 28% 5.3 14,800