The Santa Clause is a series of comedy films starring Tim Allen. The film series began with The Santa Clause (1994). It was followed by The Santa Clause 2 (2002) and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006). The series experienced a diminishing critical reception with each subsequent film.
Divorced dad Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) has custody of his son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, they are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa's place before the next Christmas arrives. Scott thinks he's dreaming, but over the next several months he gains weight and grows an inexplicably white beard. Maybe that night at the North Pole wasn't a dream after all -- and maybe Scott has a lot of work to do.
Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) has been in the role of Santa for the past eight years, and his loyal elves consider him the best one ever. But the world of the "Merry Old Soul" turns upside down when he's dealt a double whammy of news: Not only has his son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), landed on this year's naughty list, but Scott discovers that he must marry by Christmas Eve -- just a month away! -- or he will stop being Santa Claus forever.
Christmas cheer turns into holiday chaos when Scott Calvin (Tim Allen), aka Santa, invites his in-laws (Ann-Margret, Alan Arkin) for a visit and must, simultaneously, contend with Jack Frost's (Martin Short) scheme to take over the North Pole. Scott, his family and Head Elf Curtis (Spencer Breslin) must join forces to foil the nefarious plot.
Scott Foundas of Variety called the 1994 film was "a full-on charmer pic". Foundas said the 2002 follow-up had too many writers and executives involved during the long development process, which he said led to "systematically pulverizing most of the original's simple delights". The critic said, "The Santa Clause 2 is a movie conscious, at every waking moment, of trying to out-do its predecessor." Variety's Justin Chang said The Santa Clause 3 was "a much cleaner, more streamlined ride than its overstuffed predecessor". Chang said, "Michael Lembeck directs the action with a surer touch and more consistent tone than he brought to Santa Clause 2, and effortlessly pulls off the pic's sentimental, life-affirming moments without tugging too hard."
The Santa Clause 2 on its opening weekend grossed $10 million more than its predecessor. The opening weekend was a personal best to date for Tim Allen. The Hollywood Reporter said its performance "exceeded expectations". The Santa Clause's strongest market outside the United States was Germany, and The Santa Clause 2 had in Germany an opening weekend of $892,000, which was 50% larger than the opening weekend of the original film.
In the United States, The Santa Clause 3 had an opening weekend of $19.5 million, which was less than the $29 million grossed by The Santa Clause 2. Box Office Mojo reported, "More often than not, second sequels in the family genre make significantly less than their predecessors." After 24 days in theaters, the third film had grossed $67.1 million, which Box Office Mojo said was "lagging behind its predecessors by a wide margin".
In the United Kingdom, The Santa Clause 3 had an opening weekend of $2.7 million at 350 locations, which was 40% better than the opening weekend of The Santa Clause 2. In Mexico, The Santa Clause 3 had an opening weekend of $1.4 million at 380 locations, which was three times better than The Santa Clause 2's opening weekend.Note:
A gray cell indicates character did not appear in that film.