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HISTORY

       According to the 21 Nov 1983 HR, father and son Alexander and Ilya Salkind would be producing the $50 million picture, reportedly the largest starting budget to date for any film to that time. The Salkinds had experience producing big-budget films after producing Superman (1978), Superman II (1981), and Superman III (1983, see entries), and following up with Supergirl (1984, see entry). The funding for Santa Claus was reportedly covered by foreign presales before production began. Much of the expense would go toward elaborate special effects, and employing hundreds of actors to play the film’s elves. Locations were set for Pinewood Studios in London, England; Canada and Norway. A director was yet to be named.
       The 27 Mar 1984 DV reported background shooting began in Dec 1983, with principal photography scheduled to begin in Aug 1984.
       Referring to the film as Santa Claus: The Movie, the 14 May 1984 DV announced Jeannot Swarc was hired to direct the picture, and Dudley Moore would play a key role as an elf. Optical effects sequences were reported by DV as beginning that day. The 4 Aug 1984 Screen International confirmed second unit photography had been underway for six months, with locations in Greenland and the North Pole.
       According to the 18 Aug 1984 Screen International, principal photography would commence on 20 Aug 1984 at Pinewood Studios, and the Completion Bond Co was underwriting the costly production.
       Filming completed on 20 Nov 1984, according to the 5 Dec 1984 ... More Less

       According to the 21 Nov 1983 HR, father and son Alexander and Ilya Salkind would be producing the $50 million picture, reportedly the largest starting budget to date for any film to that time. The Salkinds had experience producing big-budget films after producing Superman (1978), Superman II (1981), and Superman III (1983, see entries), and following up with Supergirl (1984, see entry). The funding for Santa Claus was reportedly covered by foreign presales before production began. Much of the expense would go toward elaborate special effects, and employing hundreds of actors to play the film’s elves. Locations were set for Pinewood Studios in London, England; Canada and Norway. A director was yet to be named.
       The 27 Mar 1984 DV reported background shooting began in Dec 1983, with principal photography scheduled to begin in Aug 1984.
       Referring to the film as Santa Claus: The Movie, the 14 May 1984 DV announced Jeannot Swarc was hired to direct the picture, and Dudley Moore would play a key role as an elf. Optical effects sequences were reported by DV as beginning that day. The 4 Aug 1984 Screen International confirmed second unit photography had been underway for six months, with locations in Greenland and the North Pole.
       According to the 18 Aug 1984 Screen International, principal photography would commence on 20 Aug 1984 at Pinewood Studios, and the Completion Bond Co was underwriting the costly production.
       Filming completed on 20 Nov 1984, according to the 5 Dec 1984 Var. Locations in Greenland, North America and Europe were mentioned.
       The 24 May 1985 LAHExam provided a breakdown of costs, which covered $2 million spent on the main North Pole set, 400 full-time actors hired for the fifteen-week shoot, seven second unit crews shooting simultaneously, and the hefty cost of the reindeer acquired from Norway, which were required by British law to be quarantined for several months before being available for work. A reindeer trainer was flown in from the U.S. to work with the reindeer for several months, and timing was a concern as reindeer shed their antlers. Fortunately, there were no delays. Two days after the final scene was shot, the first reindeer lost its antlers. Following the shoot, the reindeer were released into the wilds of England and Scotland, as Norway refused to take them back.
       According to the 26 Jan 1986 LAHExam, actor John Lithgow was so committed to his villainous role as “B. Z.” that he commissioned a dentist, at his own expense, to create false teeth, after viewing daily rushes and deciding he didn’t look “cruel enough.”
       The 23 Sep 1985 DV reported that Santa Claus would be screened on airlines day and date with its Dec 1985 theatrical release. The picture was set to premiere with 1,100 prints on Thanksgiving Day 1985, with an additional 500 prints prepared for the 20 Dec 1985 wide release. However, the 1 Oct 1985 DV announced that plans to release the picture on domestic airlines had been canceled due to exhibitor protest. According to the 19 Oct 1985 LAT, the picture would hold a NY premiere on 20 Nov 1985, with a national release on 27 Nov 1985.
       The 13 Dec 1985 HR reported the film had opened in 970 theaters on 27 Nov 1985, and would expand its total to 1,580 screens in time for that Christmas. Box-office receipts after the first fourteen days were $11,139,191. The Feb 1986 Box reported totals of $7 million after the first five days in 970 theaters.
       Deeming the film a “flop,” the 18 Jun 1986 Var announced that Tri-Star pictures had plans to reissue Santa Claus as a Thanksgiving 1986 childrens’ matinee attraction.
      End credits include the following acknowledgements: “Special thanks to Frans J. Afman, Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland, N.V.,” and, “The Producers would also like to thank McDonald’s Corporation; Sylvania Division of N.A.P. Consumer Electronics Inc.; Puma U.S.A. Inc.; Consolidated Brands Inc.; Time Magazine; The people of Greenland and GreenlandAir for their goodwill and assistance in filming the Arctic Sequences; and The Reindeer Company Limited, Aviemore for their co-operation." Credits conclude with the statement: "Made by Santa Claus Productions Limited at Pinewood Studios, London, England."
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Feb 1986.
---
Daily Variety
27 Mar 1984
p. 10.
Daily Variety
14 May 1984.
---
Daily Variety
23 Sep 1985.
---
Daily Variety
1 Oct 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 1983
p. 1, 20.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 1985
p. 3, 9.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Dec 1985.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
24 May 1985.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
26 Jan 1986.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Oct 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
27 Nov 1985
Section G, p. 1, 9.
New York Times
27 Nov 1985
p. 18.
Screen International
4 Aug 1984.
---
Screen International
18 Aug 1984.
---
Variety
5 Dec 1984.
---
Variety
27 Nov 1985
p. 15.
Variety
18 Jun 1986.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Alexander Salkind Presents
An Alexander and Ilya Salkind Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
Flying and 2d unit dir
Prod mgr--North America & The Arctic
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Addl photog
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
Model cam
Stills
Aerial & background stills
Elec supv
Elec supv
Elec supv
Aerial seq photog with
Cam op, Gyrosphere
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Supv art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir
Illustrator
Illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Const mgr
Prop master
Const supv
Const supv
Const supv
Const supv
Const supv
Const supv
Const supv
Const supv
Const supv
Const supv
Const supv
Const supv
Const supv
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward master
Dressing supv
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus rec at The Music Centre by
Mus rec at
SOUND
Sd ed
Sd mixer
Sd ed
Sd re-rec at Pinewood Studios by
Sd re-rec at
VISUAL EFFECTS
Flying
Dir of visual & miniature eff
Supv of opt eff
Visual eff photog
Supv animatronic des
Animatronic des
Animatronic des
Animatronic des
Animatronic des
Opt ed
End titles des
Opt eff, Optical Film Effects Limited
Opt eff, Optical Film Effects Limited
Opt eff, Optical Film Effects Limited
Opt eff, Optical Film Effects Limited
Opt eff, Optical Film Effects Limited
Opt eff, Optical Film Effects Limited
Spec eff, Effects Associates Limited
Spec eff, Effects Associates Limited
Spec eff, Effects Associates Limited
Spec eff, Effects Associates Limited
Spec eff, Effects Associates Limited
Const supv
DANCE
Choreog & movement
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup--Dudley Moore
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod exec
Prod accountant
Prod supv
Exec asst to the prods
Casting dir
Scr supv
Prod asst
Prod asst
Personal asst to Alexander Salkind
Personal asst to Ilya Salkind
Personal asst to Pierre Spengler
Dir's secy
Accounts
Dir of pub
Front projection consultant
Animal services provided by
Animal services, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Animal services, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Animal services, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Animal services, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Animal services, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Animal services, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Animal services, Animal Actors of Hollywood
Financial advisers
International dist consultant
Promotional consultants
Pilot, Gyrosphere
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
"Every Christmas Eve," by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse, sung by Aled Jones
"Making Toys," by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse
"It's Christmas Again," by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse
+
SONGS
"Every Christmas Eve," by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse, sung by Aled Jones
"Making Toys," by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse
"It's Christmas Again," by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse
"Patch! Natch!" by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse
"Thank You, Santa!" by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse
"Christmas All Over The World," performed by Sheena Easton, produced by Keith Olson, words and music by Bill House & John Hobbs, Sheena Easton appears courtesy of EMI Records Ltd.
"Shouldn't Do That," performed by Kaja, produced by Ken Scott, Lyrics by Nick Beggs, Music by Nick Beggs, Stuart Croxford, Neal and Steve Askew, published by Infinite Music/Intersong, courtesy of EMI Records Limited
"Every Christmas Eve," sung by Aled Jones.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Santa Claus: The Movie
Release Date:
27 November 1985
Premiere Information:
New York City premiere: 20 November 1985
Los Angeles and New York openings: 27 November 1985
Production Date:
20 August--20 November 1984
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
112
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27556
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

An elderly woman tells a group of children a story about a mystical land of elves who live under the North Star, while they await the arrival of their neighbor Claus and his wife, Anya, to arrive. Every winter, “Uncle Claus” brings the village children homemade toys. Anya and Claus arrive by a reindeer-drawn sleigh, and soon depart to the next village. Their reindeer, Donner and Blitzen, struggle to pull the sleigh through a blizzard, and become lost in the woods. Soon, the reindeer collapse, followed by Anya and Claus. Sometime later, the sky clears and they all awaken. Light from the North Star reveals a magical world of elves, who appear to greet them. An elf named Neely tells them this is their new home, and before their eyes, a hidden village appears. Claus and Anya think they are dreaming. The elves lead them to a toy workshop and tell Claus he can now make toys for all the children in the world, and that he and Anya will live forever. Sometime later, an elf named Patch introduces Claus to a stable of reindeer, but keeps Claus in suspense about their purpose. The elves create a special red suit for Claus, and get to work making toys. On the night of “Season’s Greetings,” Claus meets an ancient elf who reveals that he is the one chosen in a prophecy to be “father” to all the world’s children. The elf grants Claus the gift of flight to achieve his mission, and bestows the name “Santa Claus.” Claus sets forth on his maiden voyage, flying with ... +


An elderly woman tells a group of children a story about a mystical land of elves who live under the North Star, while they await the arrival of their neighbor Claus and his wife, Anya, to arrive. Every winter, “Uncle Claus” brings the village children homemade toys. Anya and Claus arrive by a reindeer-drawn sleigh, and soon depart to the next village. Their reindeer, Donner and Blitzen, struggle to pull the sleigh through a blizzard, and become lost in the woods. Soon, the reindeer collapse, followed by Anya and Claus. Sometime later, the sky clears and they all awaken. Light from the North Star reveals a magical world of elves, who appear to greet them. An elf named Neely tells them this is their new home, and before their eyes, a hidden village appears. Claus and Anya think they are dreaming. The elves lead them to a toy workshop and tell Claus he can now make toys for all the children in the world, and that he and Anya will live forever. Sometime later, an elf named Patch introduces Claus to a stable of reindeer, but keeps Claus in suspense about their purpose. The elves create a special red suit for Claus, and get to work making toys. On the night of “Season’s Greetings,” Claus meets an ancient elf who reveals that he is the one chosen in a prophecy to be “father” to all the world’s children. The elf grants Claus the gift of flight to achieve his mission, and bestows the name “Santa Claus.” Claus sets forth on his maiden voyage, flying with a team of eight reindeer. Centuries pass, as Santa continues delivering toys around the world. Children write him letters that are magically delivered to the North Pole, and Anya thinks they should only deliver toys to the “good” girls and boys. Santa Claus agrees to make “Nice” and “Naughty” lists. As years pass, Santa becomes tired, and Anya suggests he take on an elf as his assistant. Santa challenges elves Patch and Puffy to compete for the job. Patch uses some new toy-making techniques, and wins the position. In New York City, a wealthy child named Cornelia watches a homeless boy named Joe out her window, and the children smile at each other. Cornelia sets out a plate of dinner for the hungry boy. On Christmas Eve, Santa notices Joe on the street, and offers to take him for a ride on his sleigh. Joe delivers presents with Santa. Cornelia hears a noise, and discovers Joe and Santa Claus in her house. She introduces herself to Joe, and offers the boy some ice cream. Santa leaves Joe behind with Cornelia, and promises to take him out again the following year. Over time, the toys built by Patch begin to break, and Joe gets in a fistfight with a group of boys for defending Santa Claus. Cornelia also fights with her friends when they insult Santa. At the North Pole, Patch apologizes for making such a mess of things. He quits his job as Santa’s assistant, and Puffy is given the honor. Patch packs his belongings, and leaves the North Pole. In a courtroom, a man named B. Z. defends his own poorly made toys, created by his company, “B. Z. Toys.” He is ordered to remove every toy on the market. Patch arrives in New York City and observes B. Z. toys being removed from store windows. He mistakenly assumes they are popular, and goes to B. Z. Toys headquarters, where he reveals himself as an elf, and asks B. Z. for a job. Patch hopes to win the appreciation of Santa Claus by making “something special” at B. Z. Toys, but greedy B. Z. is unimpressed by Patch’s idea to give away toys for free. However, he ultimately decides it would be good advertising for his failing company. Patch promises to deliver the unnamed “special” toy requiring no assistance or cost, by using magic, and B. Z. agrees to hire Patch. Santa is distraught when he learns that Patch has left the North Pole. Sometime later, Patch makes a television commercial to advertise his free gift, which is a lollipop, and promises to deliver it himself, to every child. Santa sees the advertisement and has mixed feelings. Cornelia is summoned to the home office of her step-uncle, B. Z., with whom she lives. On Christmas Eve, Patch reveals his magic sleigh in the shape of a wooden car, and B. Z. is impressed. Patch sets out to deliver presents, and Santa sees one of Patch’s gifts under a tree while making his own rounds. Santa stops to pick up Joe, and gives the boy a hand-carved figure he made himself. On Christmas morning, Cornelia does not want to open the gift from Patch, so her governess indulges in the lollipop herself, and begins to float. Elsewhere, other children also levitate after eating their lollipops. The treat, known as the “Puce Pop” becomes a huge success. At a press conference, B. Z. asserts his claim on Patch, who questions B. Z. after hearing about his previous toy recall. Patch tells B. Z. that he plans to return to his friends at the North Pole, but B. Z. asks for one last favor--to increase the magic and put it in candy canes, that will cause the children to fly. Patch naively agrees, and B. Z. wants them ready by March, naming the release “Christmas 2.” Meanwhile, Santa wonders if Christmas should continue, as people do not seem to care anymore. On a rainy night, Joe visits Cornelia, who invites him in for shelter. She worries about his fever, and begs him to stay in an empty bedroom until he is well again. The children overhear B. Z. speaking to his associate, Towzer, about his plans to conquer Santa Claus. Joe sneezes, and is discovered in the basement by B. Z. While Cornelia hides, Joe tells B. Z. that he will never replace Santa Claus. B. Z. has his chauffeur take Joe away. Towzer tells B. Z. there is a problem with the candy canes that causes them to explode when exposed to heat. Patch is unaware of the reaction, and Towzer demands they stop production. However, driven by greed, B. Z. will not agree. Cornelia overhears the conversation, and learns of her step-uncle’s disregard for childrens’ safety, and his plan to place the blame on Patch. She writes a letter to Santa Claus asking his help, and telling him that Joe has been kidnapped by B. Z. Santa orders the elves to prepare his sleigh to rescue Joe, but two of the reindeer are ill. Santa gives a pep talk to the remaining reindeer and they fly him safely to New York City. At B. Z.’s Toy factory, Patch finds Joe tied up. After releasing him, Joe accuses Patch of ruining Christmas. Patch is surprised to learn of the misunderstanding, and tells Joe they are going to the North Pole to make things right. He loads the magic candy canes in his wooden sleigh, and sets off. Meanwhile, Santa Claus arrives at Cornelia’s home, and they fly to find Joe. In mid-air, they see Patch and Joe flying in the wooden car, and notice the glowing candy canes in the trunk. Santa and Cornelia worry they will explode, and race to save them. At B. Z.’s office, police arrive to arrest him for Joe’s kidnapping. To escape capture, B. Z. eats some candy canes and flies out a window. Patch and Joe enjoy their journey, unaware that they are in harm’s way. The car malfunctions and Santa performs “the super looper” in his sleigh to rescue them before the flying car explodes. The foursome cheer and continue together to the North Pole. Santa Claus and Anya take Joe in, and Cornelia is welcomed to stay until the following Christmas. Meanwhile, B. Z. floats away into outer space. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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