Settling down in front of feel-good festive movies has become a modern Christmas tradition – and has driven the production of seasonal films to record-breaking levels this year.
More than 200 new feature films and TV movies with the word Christmas in the title are listed on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) for release in 2021.
That number has doubled since 2016, and is four times more than in 2011.
Channels and streamers have discovered festive films are big ratings winners.
Christmas movies have been popular for decades, and classics like Home Alone, Love Actually and It’s A Wonderful Life will be widely watched again in the coming weeks.
But the boom in a new breed of festive films can be traced back to the Hallmark US cable channel’s decision to launch a special season of TV movies in 2009.
Its first Countdown To Christmas featured four original productions and delivered record audiences.
This year, its countdown started even earlier, on 22 October, and includes a record 42 original holiday films. “They bet really big on Christmas and everyone else seemed to notice the ratings,” says Brandon Gray, co-host of the Deck the Hallmark podcast and one of the authors of a new book called I’ll Be Home for Christmas Movies.
Rival channel Lifetime was among those to take notice, and has made 35 of its own Christmas crowd-pleasers this year, also its highest number yet.