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One of the greatest American holiday films of all time is Bob Clark’s A Christmas Story. Although a box office disappointment upon initial release, endless showings on television made it a holiday staple, right up there with It’s a Wonderful Life. Catchphrases like “you’ll shoot your eye out, kid” and gags like the infamous leg lamp have become iconic. Cable channels run 24 hours marathons of the film on Christmas to this day.
And now, as the movie approaches its fortieth anniversary, it’s getting a sequel at long last. Announced via The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are teaming up for this continuation. And it stars the original Ralphie himself, Peter Billingsley. Titled A Christmas Story Christmas, Clay Kaytis (The Christmas Chronicles) will be at the helm. The script comes from Nick Schenk (Gran Torino). This story will take place in the 1970s, and features an adult Ralphie returning to his house on Cleveland Street to deliver his kids a magical Christmas. Just like the ones he had growing up.
The goal is to recreate the same real-life tone of the first movie, based on the autobiographical stories of humorist Jean Shepard. We’ll see Ralphie reconnect with childhood friends, as well as deal with the passing of his Old Man. However, Melinda Dillon, who played Ralphie’s mother, is still around. So it’s possible she’s coming back as well. Although she hasn’t made a movie since 2007. Deadline reported in February that original cast members Ian Petrella (Randy), Zack Ward (Scut Farkus), Scott Schwartz (Flick), and R.D. Robb (Schwartz) would join the Christmas Story sequel.
There have been a couple of movies billed in some fashion as an “official” sequel to A Christmas Story previously. In 1994, It Runs in the Family featured a young Kieran Culkin as Ralphie and Charles Grodin as the Old Man. It did not take place at Christmas but was based on other writings from Jean Shepherd. Subsequent releases have changed the title to My Summer Story. Later, in 2012, a movie with the title A Christmas Story 2 went direct-to-video and ignores all of the events of My Summer Story. That movie also looks truly awful.
Despite acting in many other projects, most people still know Billingsley for his role as Ralphie, even four decades later. But he’s had a lucrative career behind the scenes, working with friends like Jon Favreau. In fact, he plays the scientist that Obadiah Stane famously yells at about how “Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave! With a box of scraps!” in the first Iron Man film. A role he revisited in Spider-Man: Far From Home. While that might have been humiliating, we just hope that in this upcoming movie, he’s spared the humiliation of a bunny suit. No one should have to go through that twice.
Originally published January 20, 2022.
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