EXCLUSIVE: We hear that four holiday movies have received HBO Max release dates as of Wednesday: Legendary’s Christmas Story sequel, A Christmas Story Christmas for November 17 this year, and three yuletide titles from ESX Entertainment: Holiday Harmony and A Christmas Mystery both on November 24 and A Hollywood Christmas on December 1.
A Christmas Story Christmas from director Clay Kaytis and producers Irwin Zwilling, Marc Toberoff, Cale Boyter, Jay Ashenfelter, Peter Billingsley and Vince Vaughn follow Ralphie, who is all grown up now. He must deal with Christmas and all that comes with it, this time as a dad. Peter Billingsley reprized his role as Ralphie. Erinn Hayes, Julianna Layne, River Drosche, RD Robb and Scott Schwartz along with Zack Ward and Julie Hagerty also star.
The romantic drama Holiday Harmony from producers Ali Afshar, Lauren Swickard and Daniel Aspromonte, and directed by Shaun Paul Piccinino, follows singer-songwriter Gail, who lands an opportunity to compete for a once-in-a-lifetime shot at the big time, and heads cross country— only getting as far as Harmony Springs, Oklahoma when her ride, her budget and all her hopes are stalled. With just two weeks to get to the iHeartRadio Christmas Eve performance of her dreams, she takes the advice of local Jack-of-all-trades, Jeremy, and takes on a group of misfit kids hoping to perform in a Christmas Eve gala of their own. Gail and Jeremy grow close, but if she’s going to fulfill her lifelong dream, she may have to leave him and the town she’s grown to love behind.
The cast features Annelise Cepero, Jeremy Sumpter, Carla Jimenez, Sisanie, Amy Brown, Michael Wiseman, Seth Colton, Sophia Reid-Gantzert, Jordyn Curet, Richard Perrie, Kayden Franco, Ryder Franco and Brooke Shields.
A Christmas Mystery, also from Afshar and Aspromonte and producer Ava Rettke, is from director Alex Ranarivelo. Logline: 100 years ago, a strip of Santa’s magical jingle bells were discovered by a young boy in Pleasant Bay, Oregon, bringing about a century of prosperity and peace for the small town. Now, just days before Christmas, the bells are missing, and it’s up to a group of intrepid kids to solve the case, find the bells and restore the Christmas magic. Cast includes Violet McGraw, Eddie Cibrian, Christoph Sanders, Drew Powell, Lauren Lindsey Donzis, Santino Barnard and Leonardo Cecchi, with Beau Bridges and Oscar Nuñez.
A Hollywood Christmas, also from Afshar and Aspromonte and producer Christina Moore, centers on Jessica, a young, up-and-coming filmmaker in Hollywood who has made a name for herself directing Christmas movies. But when handsome network executive Christopher shows up threatening to halt production on her latest movie, Jessica’s assistant, Reena, points out the irony: Jessica isn’t just trying to save her Christmas movie, she’s actually living in one. Jessica must now juggle all the classic tropes—her actors falling in and out of love, a wayward elf dog, and her own stirring romantic feelings for her perceived nemesis—in order to get her movie and her life to their happy endings. The romantic comedy cast includes Jessika Van, Josh Swickard, Anissa Borrego, Riley Dandy, Zak Steiner, Tom Williamson, Emelia Hartford and Missi Pyle.
While Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav believes in the theatrical window, it’s for event, budget-sized movies. Unlike other streamers that are spending triple millions on direct-to-streaming movies, that’s not part of the new WBD-HBO Max plan.