A Christmas Story: The Film That Became An Unexpected Tradition
The week before Thanksgiving in 1983, MGM released the latest film by Bob Clark, director of Porky’s. It earned $2 million during its first weekend and didn’t remain in theaters for long, as they pulled it before Christmas. That film, A Christmas Story, would go on to be seen by millions, essentially fulfilling Roger Ebert’s statement that, “My guess is either nobody will go to see it, or millions of people will go to see it because it will catch on.” The second part of his prophetic statement came true after it was released on VHS and on HBO, and its popularity started to grow. Then, as MGM started to collapse because of its heavy debt, it sold its film library to Ted Turner, who had the idea of running it every year at Christmas, and with the “24 Hours of A Christmas Story,” it racked up an impressive number of views. In 2008 alone, the film had 54.4 million viewers.