Warner has produced a sequel to the now classic 1983 comedy A Christmas Story, which regularly makes the top or close to top spot on Best Christmas Movie lists. A Christmas Story 2 brings up only one thought:
Back when DVD was still relatively new and studios realized people didn’t mind buying movies they hadn’t heard of as long they were familiar and on DVD (which didn’t have the stink VHS had always carried), we got a slew of these films: numerous Bring It Ons, American Pies and others.
Warner even created a division solely to produce these low-budget straight-to-DVD sequels, called Warner Premiere (which made A Christmas Story 2). And the studio wasn’t alone.
At first, Hollywood stuck with sequels of new theatrical hits, but soon they started digging into older titles, like The Scorpion King (2008’s The Scorpion King: Rise of the Warrior and this year’s The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption). Universal even went for a sequel of gangster classic Carlito’s Way with 2005’s Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power.
Even Disney got in on the fun, rolling out 2004’s The Lion King 1 1/2 and 2006’s Bambi II and The Fox and the Hound 2. (Disney had been big on this in the good ol’ VHS days too, with 1998’s The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride and 1995’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves, among others.)
Except for Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power, which was arguably original in that it told the story before the first movie, all these DVD premiere films pretty much regurgitated the same basic story of the original but with a less expensive cast.
And A Christmas Story 2 is no exception. The premise of the first film (in case it hasn’t been a Christmas staple in your home): Young Ralphie tries to convince his 1940s parents that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect present and trouble ensues. The premise of this new version? Five years older Ralphie tries to convince his parents that a car is the perfect present and … yep, trouble ensues.
Hollywood, get some new ideas! I don’t care if a movie premieres on disc, just make it original — and good.
Movie watchers have been voting against these DVD sequels and sales have been shrinking. Warner even closed its Warner Premiere division this month.
But the biggest crime here is the sullying of a classic film. A Christmas Story stands up there with A Wonderful Life and Miracle On 34th Street as true holiday classics, movies that fans love so much, they’ll watch them every year and still laugh and cry. (Disc Dish rounded up our Christmas faves, and A Christmas Story was #3.)
A Christmas Story is brilliant all by itself. The leg lamp (which returns in 2), the frozen tongue, the disappointing decoder ring…
So why do we need another one? (And Warner, “for profit” isn’t a good answer.)
Studios, you’re soiling your own heritage when you muddy the strength and adoration that a classic film attains over the years. A Christmas Story wasn’t a blockbuster, but it became a crowd favorite, and the love for that movie has grown over years. Don’t damage its reputation with a cheap knock-off.
With Warner closing its straight-to-DVD division because of low revenue, we hope we won’t see the studios attacking more classics. But you never know. In case they do have their eyes on them, here are some of the disasters we hope never make it onto shelves:
- Casablanca 2 – Play it again, Ammar. Rick and Ilsa rekindle their love in war torn Baghdad.
- E.T. 2 – E.T.’s brother had been on a rescue mission for E.T. when he got lost on Earth himself, but he’s happy as long as he’s loaded up with Peanut M&Ms.
- Miracle On 36th Street – During an Easter parade, a young girl meets a bunny who claims he’s the real thing.
- The Day After The Day After Tomorrow – Someone’s got to clean up all that messes after the inevitable thaw. Maybe those astronauts orbiting in the International Space Station will come down and lend a hand.
- West Village Story – A saddened Maria movies to NYC’s Meatpacking District, where the gang warfare erupting between hipsters and bridge-and-tunnel partiers is even fiercer then her former neighborhood.
- Fleshdance – Alex gets kicked out of the ballet academy and is hired by a local Pittsburgh strip club, where she cleverly incorporates welding into her nightly act.
- The Wild Bunch II – They were all killed at the end of the first. But as they were nasty, selfish outlaws, they’re sure to have left a bunch of angry kids all over the Western territories.