It's a great debate to have around the holiday table: What's the greatest Christmas movie of all time?
Is it 'A Christmas Story?' Or maybe 'Love Actually?' What about 'Elf' or 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' or 'Home Alone?'
All great choices. Even 'Die Hard' could be considered a Christmas movie. Say it with me in your best Alan Rickman voice: 'Now I have a machine gun. Ho. Ho. Ho.'
Well, according to Streaming Observer, which follows and studies the streaming industry, none of those movies is the favorite choice around the holidays in Florida.
Instead, it's 'Batman Returns.'
You know, the dark 1992 follow-up that Tim Burton gave us after his 1989 hit 'Batman' starring Michael Keaton -- which nicely balanced dark and funny, largely helped by Jack Nicholson's unmatched (at least until Heath Ledger) Joker portrayal. The sequel, which is set around Christmas, co-starred Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as a seriously evil Penguin.
Critics liked the movie fine, but audiences were more meh, giving the film a so-so 'B' CinemaScore grade. There also was a parental backlash over the film's violence and sexuality.
In fact, McDonald's had to halt a Happy Meal campaign tied to the movie.
The PG-13 movie made a respectable $163 million at the North American box office, but that was down a sizable 35 percent from the original. It was the last 'Batman' movie for Burton as a director and Keaton as the star as the series shifted to a lighter tone and actually got much, much worse before Christopher Nolan took up the 'Batman' helm and also got delightfully dark.
So how did Streaming Observer arrive at 'Batman Returns' anyway?
They write: "Using data from Rotten Tomatoes and other public sources, we compiled a list of the most popular Christmas movies of all time. Then, we partnered up with our friends at Mindnet Analytics and used Google Trends data to determine which Christmas movie each state was most obsessed with relative to other states."
The site acknowledges that some of the choices may seem unconventional -- like 'Die Hard' and 'Batman Returns.'
"Is there anything better than Gotham at Christmas?" the site asks.
(To which we would answer: Yeah, just about anywhere is better than Gotham at Christmas. Especially Tampa Bay.)
Elsewhere around the nation, 'Home Alone' dominated Midwestern states -- makes sense, it was filmed in Chicago.
'White Christmas' was the favorite in Minnesota, while 'Die Hard' was the favorite in states like Wisconsin, Virginia and Washington.
'Gremlins' was an interesting choice in the Carolinas and Georgia. It also was a favorite in Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado. New Mexico and Arizona went with other Tim Burton favorites -- 'Nightmare Before Christmas' in the former, 'Edward Scissorhands' in the latter. Both are excellent choices.
Surprisingly, annual favorite 'A Christmas Story' only placed first in one state -- Delaware.
Florida also wasn't alone when it comes to 'Batman Returns' -- California and Louisiana also ranked the movie as their top holiday film.
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