Christmas Tv Movies: 5 Unusual Things You Don't Know About These Films
Whether we love them or not, Christmas TV movies have become essential on television during the holiday season, and even... much earlier! In 2023, they are coming back on TF1 as early as October 23rd! A true business phenomenon across the Atlantic, these romances filled with Christmas decorations and feel-good emotions have become a seasonal phenomenon in France. But are you sure you know everything about them? Here are 5 surprising facts that will astonish you!
1- They are filmed in the middle of summer.
Genre governed by (almost) immutable rules, Christmas TV movies are most often snowy romances... with artificial snow!
The United States is by far the leading producer of this type of seasonal romantic comedies, exporting them worldwide, even to countries that do not traditionally celebrate Christmas!
Even more surprising, these winter-themed fictions are filmed in the middle of summer, around June-July, to be ready for airing on American television as early as October.
One can easily imagine that the actors must be sweltering in their coats, but of course, they don't show it on screen so as not to compromise the festive atmosphere of these joyful TV movies.
2- They employ actors from TV series.
Maybe you have noticed that it is often the same actors who play in these Christmas TV movies. But if their faces look familiar, it's not just because you've binge-watched these romances throughout the months of November and/or December!
The actors in these TV movies are generally former TV series stars, and their popularity in the United States is one of the reasons for the success of these productions.
Among these well-known faces to viewers, you may have recognized Tatyana Ali, known for playing the role of Ashley in the series "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" with Will Smith, or Hilarie Burton, who has appeared in "One Tree Hill" and "White Collar".
3- They inspired a Christmas house.
Christmas TV movies, specially formatted to be broadcast during the holiday season, are inexpensive to produce but can bring in big profits! In 2020, 30 new films of this genre were produced in the United States, with an average budget of one and a half million euros, much less than a Hollywood film.
These love stories and Santa Claus tales are a real business across the Atlantic, where several channels start airing them as early as October... 24 hours a day! This is the case for the channel Lifetime, whose 100% Christmas programming has already attracted nearly sixty million viewers this year. This same channel has decided to exploit this niche in a rather unique way.
They have chosen a typical New England house in the town of Greenwich to transform it into a tourist accommodation available for rent throughout the holiday season. With its icy cold weather and abundant decorations, Greenwich, in Connecticut, is the kind of town that usually serves as the backdrop for Christmas movies.
That's why Lifetime is testing this brand new concept there. For around €90 per night, you can sleep in a setting worthy of American Christmas fictions. This house has been entirely designed and decorated to resemble those in the movies.
Certainly, the decoration is quite heavy with light garlands and various figurines, but some of these objects sometimes come directly from the filming sets. You can find a living room, a kitchen, and bedrooms in festive colors and even... Santa's office!
4- They are becoming increasingly popular in France.
With their romantic plots and always happy endings, Christmas TV movies are terribly predictable. But their complete lack of suspense doesn't deter fans, who are increasingly numerous in France as well as in the United States.
Back on TV since October 23, 2023, on TF1, these rose-tinted fictions with the scent of Christmas trees have never achieved such good ratings, across all channels. And there are many taking advantage of this opportunity, as Christmas fictions abound on C8 and TMC in the morning, on TF1 and M6 in the afternoon, and in the evening on Gulli and TF1 Séries Films. Even the Netflix platform is not immune to the phenomenon...
TF1, unafraid of an overdose of hot chocolate and feel-good vibes, is offering two TV movies every afternoon this year, every day of the week until the end of the year.
It must be said that these light, comforting, and funny (with a touch of irony!) fictions are more popular than ever: in the first fifteen days of November 2020, TF1 saw its afternoon time slot attract 400,000 more viewers than in 2019, representing an increase of 1.2 audience points!
When the news is complicated and the atmosphere is gloomy, these kind-hearted Christmas fictions are a sort of refuge. In 2020, people needed them more than ever, which is why their broadcast started even earlier that year, both in the United States and in France.
5- They are modernizing their script.
Even though Christmas TV movies continue to attract more and more viewers, they are not spared from criticism.
Apart from their unchanging codes (which happily mix wintry atmosphere, romance, and happy endings), viewers have started to reproach them for their lack of diversity, pointing out that all the heroes in these love stories are white and heterosexual...
That's why, for the first time in 2020, a wheelchair-bound woman and a gay couple were at the heart of a plot, respectively in "Christmas Ever After" and "The Christmas Setup".
Further proof that, in these movies where everything ends well, the magic of Christmas excludes no one!