Worst Holiday Movies Ever Made

Worst Holiday Movies Ever Made

Audiences love Christmas movies. Each of the top 10 grossing holiday films since 1980 has pulled in over $100 million at the domestic box office. “Home Alone” grossed over $285 million – no small feat. For this reason, studios are continually producing new holiday-themed films, hoping to make the next classic that viewers will return to year after year. 

In the rush to produce a hit, however, movie makers often miss the mark. And for every classic holiday film such as “It’s A Wonderful Life,” there’s a flop that audiences are in no rush to revisit anytime soon.

24/7 Tempo has identified the 40 worst holiday movies ever made based on critics and general audiences movie ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and user rating on Internet Movie Database. 

Many of the titles on the list are attempts to cash in on past successes. There are multiple sequels among the worst holiday movies, including “The Santa Clause 2,” “Daddy’s Home 2,” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” Remakes, such as the live action version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and the 2006 update of holiday horror flick “Black Christmas,” also appear on the list.

The onslaught of terrible holiday movies seems to have picked up speed around the turn of the 21st century. Three-quarters of the worst holiday films were released in 2000 or later. The oldest film on the list is yet another pick from the horror genre, the 1984 slasher film “Silent Night, Deadly Night.”

Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

40. Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009)
> Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
> Starring: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth
> Genre: Animation, drama, family

This version of the Charles Dickens classic boasts a strong cast and was directed by Robert Zemeckis, who is considered to be a special effects innovator. While it was hailed for its digital 3-D animation technique, the holiday movie was also criticized for being uneven, lacking in storytelling. The film has only a 54% rating among critics, and an audience approval score of 58%, on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

39. Love Actually (2003)
> Directed by: Richard Curtis
> Starring: Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon, Liam Neeson
> Genre: Comedy, drama, romance

Though it ranks among the worst Christmas movies, moviegoers are divided on this one. Billed as a romantic comedy, the film’s cloying sentimentality has built a cult following. Still, some critics say “Love Actually” is decidedly un-romantic — even anti-romantic — and miscategorized as a Christmas movie.

Source: Archive Photos / Moviepix via Getty Images

38. The Santa Clause (1994)
> Directed by: John Pasquin
> Starring: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson
> Genre: Comedy, drama, family

Though the film is certainly a comedy, the beginning of the story is rather dark — the real Santa is accidentally killed. Luckily, Tim Allen’s Scott Calvin takes his place, and hilarity ensues. However, there’s little to inspire most viewers with any true holiday spirit.

Though the film is certainly a comedy, the beginning of the story is rather dark — the real Santa is accidentally killed. Luckily, Tim Allen’s Scott Calvin takes his place, and hilarity ensues. However, there’s little to inspire most viewers with any true holiday spirit.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

37. Just Friends (2005)
> Directed by: Roger Kumble
> Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris
> Genre: Comedy, romance

Essentially, “Just Friends” is about a formerly overweight teen who gets the opportunity to date his high school crush 10 years later after his flight to Paris is forced to land near his home town over Christmas. Cute premise, but there’s some unnecessary mean-spiritedness that can sour the film for the viewer — and the third act seems painfully slow as moviegoers wait for the leads to finally get together.

Source: Getty Images / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

36. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
> Directed by: Ron Howard
> Starring: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Kelley
> Genre: Comedy, family, fantasy

Vanity Fair called Ron Howard’s version of the beloved book classic, the “worst movie ever,” though it’s gone down as one of the highest grossing Christmas films of all time. Reviewers tended to dislike the film’s departure from the source material, giving the Grinch a backstory in which he left Whoville as a child over a Christmastime mishap in school.

Source: Getty Images / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

35. The Family Man (2000)
> Directed by: Brett Ratner
> Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tea Leoni, Don Cheadle
> Genre: Comedy, drama, fantasy

There’s some laughs and decent performances from Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni in this fish-out-of-water tale. Cage gets spun out of his single Manhattan high life into an alternate reality of a wife and children in the suburbs. Most audience members liked the film, but many reviewers felt the film was overly sentimental, calling it “sap,” “sentimental fluff,” and “predictable.”

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

34. Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)
> Directed by: Tim Hill
> Starring: Jason Lee, Ross Bagdasarian Jr., Janice Karman
> Genre: Animation, comedy, family

A revival of the 1958 musical-cartoon franchise, the movie elicits some cheap laughs at best from the now digitally formed chipmunk trio who take a serious back seat to the live-action characters. The movie includes the Chipmunks signature tune “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late).”

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

33. Wind Chill (2007)
> Directed by: Gregory Jacobs
> Starring: Emily Blunt, Ashton Holmes, Martin Donovan
> Genre: Drama, horror, thriller

This horror film makes its way onto the list because the plot takes place around the holidays. Emily Blunt serves up an American accent in this boring thriller where a car gets stuck on a creepy highway and sinister things happen.

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

32. Hook (1991)
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg
> Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts
> Genre: Adventure, comedy, family

Renowned movie critic Roger Ebert wrote in his review that the title of the film was sadly appropriate, because the plot was “nothing more than a hook on which to hang a new version of the Peter Pan story.” The film lacks any magic in bringing Peter Pan into the contemporary world as a businessman who has forgotten who he is. Less than 30% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a positive review.

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

31. The Ice Harvest (2005)
> Directed by: Harold Ramis
> Starring: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Nielsen
> Genre: Comedy, crime, drama

The movie unfolds over the Christmas holiday and is full of booze, strip clubs, mobsters, and dirty money. It’s a tale of a man who needs a quick fix to live, so he steals a lot of money. The film isn’t fleshed out enough beyond its recycled plot, according to the Times review.

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

30. Jersey Girl (2004)
> Directed by: Kevin Smith
> Starring: Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Raquel Castro
> Genre: Comedy, drama, romance

Kevin Smith’s tale of a man who realizes the importance of family above material wealth lacks imagination and blatantly pulls on audience heartstrings, leaving a lackluster movie-going experience. Even a tenuous Christmas theme could not save the film from bombing. It grossed nearly $10 million less at the domestic box office that it cost to make.

Source: Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

29. The Santa Clause 2 (2002)
> Directed by: Michael Lembeck
> Starring: Tim Allen, Spencer Breslin, Elizabeth Mitchell
> Genre: Comedy, family, fantasy

Tim Allen returns as Scott Calvin, whose mission is to find a bride in order to continue on as Santa and suss out the source of his son’s angst at the same time. Critics were not taken by the movie, which got a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of ATO Pictures

28. The Oranges (2011)
> Directed by: Julian Farino
> Starring: Leighton Meester, Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener
> Genre: Comedy, drama, romance

Brit Julian Farino’s American feature debut takes place during the Christmas season and puts an outstanding cast in a dud of a dysfunctional-family movie. Trying to be both comedy and drama, the film fails to inspire.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

27. Friday After Next (2002)
> Directed by: Marcus Raboy
> Starring: Ice Cube, Mike Epps, John Witherspoon
> Genre: Comedy, drama

“Friday After Next” is the third installment to the “Friday” film franchise. The movie gets kudos for its ability to communicate a sense of place. Reviewers disliked the scattered and uneven lighting and editing, and said it did not hold up compared to the original. The film features a scene in which Ice Cube gets robbed of his Christmas presents and is pummeled by a Christmas tree.

Source: Courtesy of STX Entertainment

26. A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)
> Directed by: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
> Starring: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn
> Genre: Adventure, comedy

This sequel to “Bad Moms” with a holiday backdrop loses any semblance of substance, opting instead for the cheap, fun, drunk night out route as mom friends gather to commiserate about their lives. The majority of movie critics and audience members who reviewed the movie on Rotten Tomatoes did not like it.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

25. Daddy’s Home 2 (2017)
> Directed by: Sean Anders
> Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson
> Genre: Comedy

Another sequel failure is the follow up to “Daddy’s Home.” The sequel also features the fathers of the dads — Mark Wahlberg’s father is Mel Gibson, and Will Ferrell’s is John Lithgow — who come to a party at Christmas time. Just 19% of critics gave the movie a positive review on Rotten Tomatoes, and the consensus called “Daddy’s Home 2” a “formulaic comedy that’s unlikely to spread much yuletide merriment.”

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

24. Four Christmases (2008)
> Directed by: Seth Gordon
> Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Mary Steenburgen
> Genre: Comedy, drama, romance

An awkward family gathering lies at the heart of this drab holiday movie with no less than five Oscar winning actors, including Reese Witherspoon, Sissy Spacek, and Robert Duvall. It centers on a couple that initially planned to spend Christmas on an exotic vacation, but learn to love their families after the trip is canceled and they instead make their way through four separate celebrations.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

23. Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)
> Directed by: Shawn Levy
> Starring: Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff
> Genre: Comedy, family

Yet another ho-hum family-above-career movie, trailing the lives of Thomas and Kate Baker and their 12 children. A job opportunity that Thomas gets around the holidays that would mean moving the family roils the brood. The film notches a critics’ rating of 24% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

22. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
> Directed by: Charles E. Sellier Jr.
> Starring: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero
> Genre: Horror, thriller

Santa Claus as a serial killer? You’ll find that to be the case in this 1984 Christmas slasher film that raked in $2.5 million upon release but was made for just $750,000.

Source: Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

21. P2 (2007)
> Directed by: Franck Khalfoun
> Starring: Rachel Nichols, Wes Bentley, Simon Reynolds
> Genre: Crime, horror, thriller

On Christmas Eve, a businesswoman awakens after being attacked in a parking garage. She is tied up and is now sitting across from none other than the obsessed security guard. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes said it was full of gore and not very suspenseful.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

20. Fred Claus (2007)
> Directed by: David Dobkin
> Starring: Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Elizabeth Banks
> Genre: Comedy, family, fantasy

Would-be comedy “Fred Claus” focuses on family dysfunction that begins with Scrooge-like tendencies only to deteriorate into saccharine-sweet sentimentality. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave “Fred Claus” a 21% freshness rating.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

19. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
> Directed by: Chris Columbus
> Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern
> Genre: Adventure, comedy, family

“Home Alone 2” was the second highest grossing film of 1992. Its plot is a repeat of sorts of the original, with the little hero against the same foes, this time transplanted into the chaos of New York City over the holidays. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a freshness rating of 30%, but audiences diverged with critics a bit, with 61% liking the sequel.

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

18. Love the Coopers (2015)
> Directed by: Jessie Nelson
> Starring: Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, John Goodman
> Genre: Comedy, fantasy, romance

“Love the Coopers” may have gotten the right cast with Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, and John Goodman among others, but the movie missed the mark with its beat-the-audience-over-the-head approach to family dysfunction over the holidays.

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

17. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
> Directed by: Michael Lembeck
> Starring: Tim Allen, Martin Short, Elizabeth Mitchell
> Genre: Adventure, comedy, family

Unsurprisingly, the third installment of The Santa Clause also made the list of worst holiday movies. It’s best to call it for what it is: a bad Christmas movie that is big on cheap laughs, as Mrs. Claus, who’s about to give birth, sees her parents come to “town” — they think it’s Canada because they don’t know she’s married to Santa.

Source: Archive Photos / Moviepix via Getty Images

16. Reindeer Games (2000)
> Directed by: John Frankenheimer
> Starring: Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise, Charlize Theron
> Genre: Action, adventure, crime

The movie’s convoluted plot involves a man released from prison who is looking to start a new life but is pulled into a scheme to rob a Michigan casino on Christmas Eve. Despite a strong cast of Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise, Charlize Theron, and Donal Logue, the movie has just a 25% rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and only a 27% audience score.

Source: Courtesy of Fox-Walden

15. The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007)
> Directed by: David L. Cunningham
> Starring: Alexander Ludwig, Ian McShane, Christopher Eccleston
> Genre: Adventure, drama, family

Even the film’s hero, a child savior whose birthday is near Christmas Day, couldn’t save this movie. As the chosen one battles forces of evil, the movie is decidedly uninspiring and predictable with no sense of impending doom. Just 14% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a freshness rating.

Source: Warner Bros. / Moviepix via Getty Images

14. Jack Frost (1998)
> Directed by: Troy Miller
> Starring: Michael Keaton, Kelly Preston, Joseph Cross
> Genre: Comedy, drama, family

The story follows a boy whose deceased father comes back as a snowman. The movie melted pretty quickly with moviegoers, and it garnered just a 20% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Arizona Republic critic Bob Fenster said the film features a “guy in the snowman suit who looks like he didn’t make the first cut at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.”

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

13. Are We There Yet? (2005)
> Directed by: Brian Levant
> Starring: Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
> Genre: Adventure, comedy, family

This holiday road trip of sorts misses the target with moviegoers as Ice Cube turns from being anti-children in that Ebenezer Scrooge kind of way into a doting dad-to-be. The problem is, the kids were given such bratty roles, viewers are left wondering why on Earth would he want to adopt them as his own.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

12. Trapped in Paradise (1994)
> Directed by: George Gallo
> Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz, Dana Carvey
> Genre: Adventure, comedy, crime

This tale of two brothers who get out on parole and then trick their third brother into robbing a bank on Christmas Eve plays with very few laughs, despite a cast that boasts Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz, and Dana Carvey.

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

11. Eight Crazy Nights (2002)
> Directed by: Seth Kearsley
> Starring: Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Jackie Sandler
> Genre: Animation, comedy, musical

Unfortunately for star Adam Sandler, his brand of vulgar comedy did not translate well to animation in the eyes of critics and audiences alike. Though billed as holiday fare — in this case Hanukkah — it was given a rating of PG-13, not typical for this category.

Source: Getty Images / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

10. Jingle All the Way (1996)
> Directed by: Brian Levant
> Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman
> Genre: Comedy, family

Critics didn’t find “Jingle All the Way” to be much of a Christmas darling. But movie-goers paid to watch Arnold Schwarzenegger desperately trying to find his son a Turbo-Man action figure during the waning hours of the Christmas season. It’s one of the highest grossing Christmas movies of all time.

Source: Courtesy of CBS/Fox

9. Toys (1992)
> Directed by: Barry Levinson
> Starring: Robin Williams, Michael Gambon, Joan Cusack
> Genre: Adventure, comedy, drama

A film that was 15 years in the making and cost $40 million only lasted in theaters for six weeks and took in a dismal $21 million. “Toys,” a fantasy film about an imaginary world set inside a giant toy corporation, was met with some criticism as just 30% of reviewers and 39% of audience members gave it favorable marks on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the film has apparently struck a chord with viewers in recent years who have come to appreciate it, according to director Barry Levinson.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

8. Black Christmas (2006)
> Directed by: Glen Morgan
> Starring: Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert
> Genre: Horror

Nothing compares to the 1974 original, which is credited with helping launch the slasher film genre, by the way. In this remake, over Christmas time, an escaped homicidal nutjob returns to his home, now a sorority house, and proceeds to kill the sorority sisters one by one. This tedious version, however, focuses the attention on the killer himself, who turns out to be not so terrifying.

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

7. Home Alone 3 (1997)
> Directed by: Raja Gosnell
> Starring: Alex D. Linz, Olek Krupa, Rya Kihlstedt
> Genre: Comedy, crime, family

John Hughes returned to write the third film in the franchise, but Macaulay Culkin was replaced by Alex D. Linz as the kid who spends his holiday season snuffing out the bad guys in brutal cartoon-like fashion. The problem is, Culkin will always be Kevin McCallister, and the majority of critics agree that this script runs dry of any of the appeal in previous Home Alone movies.

Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Distribution

6. Surviving Christmas (2004)
> Directed by: Mike Mitchell
> Starring: Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate, James Gandolfini
> Genre: Comedy, romance

Ben Affleck stars in the role of an ad exec who loses his girlfriend when he suggests they go to Fiji instead of Christmas with her family. Affleck’s character subsequently spends the holiday with the family who now occupies his childhood home as he searches for meaning in his life. The film only managed to garner eight positive reviews amongst the 113 collected by Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures Corporation

5. Christmas With the Kranks (2004)
> Directed by: Joe Roth
> Starring: Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd
> Genre: Comedy, family

“Christmas with the Kranks” is a Christmas comedy about a couple who has to celebrate the holiday at the last minute when their daughter decides to come home from the Peace Corps with a new fiance. Released the same year as “Surviving Christmas,” “Christmas With the Kranks” proves that 2004 was a bad year for fans of holiday movies. Despite the star power in the cast, just 5% of critics said the film was worthwhile on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

4. Deck the Halls (2006)
> Directed by: John Whitesell
> Starring: Matthew Broderick, Danny DeVito, Kristin Chenoweth
> Genre: Comedy, family

New neighbor Danny DeVito threatens to dethrone Matthew Broderick as the “Christmas guy,” and the two try to outdo each other with Christmas sparkle. The shiny bulbs are the only things that light up the screen in this tepid movie-going experience.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

3. Jack and Jill (2011)
> Directed by: Dennis Dugan
> Starring: Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Al Pacino
> Genre: Comedy

“Jack and Jill” currently has a pitiful 3.3 rating out of 10 on IMDb. The movie, starring Adam Sandler, centers on Thanksgiving and a visit from his fraternal twin sister (also played by Sandler) who refuses to leave. While Sandler has some major cinematic successes under his belt, he fails to recreate the magic here.

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

2. Look Who’s Talking Now (1993)
> Directed by: Tom Ropelewski
> Starring: John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, David Gallagher
> Genre: Comedy, family, romance

The third movie in the franchise was probably better left off the development table considering its dismal $10.3 million box office results. John Travolta and Kirstie Alley return, now with children – as well as pets – old enough to talk and the film follows the family as they head to a forest hideaway on Christmas Eve. Many critics found the sexual overtones in the movie, which is the third installment in a franchise that was once aimed at children, off-putting. No critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a positive review, and it has a 29% audience score.

Source: Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films

1. Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas (2014)
> Directed by: Darren Doane
> Starring: Kirk Cameron, Darren Doane, Bridgette Cameron
> Genre: Comedy, family

Topping the list of the worst holiday movies ever made is this Kirk Cameron vehicle, where he plays himself and is out to save the Christmas spirit. He does this by arguing in favor of all the lavish spending and extravagance that come with the holidays. This message failed to resonate with critics, however, and the movie currently has zero positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. It didn’t do much better with audiences, with only 30% of users reporting that they liked the film.


To determine the worst holiday movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo created an index based on each film’s Rotten Tomatoes average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database average user rating. To be considered, each film needed to have at least 5,000 Rotten Tomatoes user ratings, 10 approved Tomatometer critic reviews, and 10,000 IMDb user ratings.

We averaged the user ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb and weighted by the number of votes for each. The combined user rating was then averaged with the Rotten Tomatoes critic rating.

24/7 Tempo used editorial discretion to remove films deemed as not having enough thematic relation to the holidays.

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