Maybe this is the happiest season after all?
Christmas movies usually make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. They should be the right dose of nostalgic, emotional, and fun to watch. It's hard to make something that special and unique, and even harder to make it a movie that matters.
But it seems like Hulu has stumbled on a new Christmas classic, and its subscribers agree.
The story of the movie is simple. It's a coming-out story and a romance featuring Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis). When Harper invites Abby home for Christmas, she confesses that she’s closeted to her family. She asks Abby to pretend they’re straight until after the holiday when she swears she’ll come out to her uptight parents, Ted and Tipper (Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen). Of course, hijinks ensue, and Harper hurts Abby’s feelings, and the relationship is weakened.
I won't spoil the ending, but you get the picture.
The film was directed by Clea DuVall and co-written by DuVall and Mary Holland.
How did this movie become such a raving success?
At first, Happiest Season was supposed to be a theatrical movie from Sony and EOne, but after the pandemic hit, the film was sold off to Hulu. That worked out splendidly, as Variety reports that the film broke premiere records for the streamer. Over Thanksgiving weekend, the movie had the best viewership for any original film on the service in its opening weekend and attracted more new subscribers than any other previous feature title.
And no one was watching this movie quietly. Everyone was talking about it in their group chats and online. Again, according to Hulu, it was the company’s most-talked-about original film ever on Twitter. In fact, the title trended three times.
“Obviously, we all wanted a theatrical release for this, and Sony was such a great partner,” DuVall told Variety. “But Hulu just took the ball and did such an incredible job, and were so passionate. It’s really heartening to me that so many people wanted to get this story out there.”
A story like this should dispel the myth that LGBTQ+ films have niche audiences, as people from all backgrounds tuned in for the fun. There's already a sequel in motion, and I have to think Sony is wishing they had the opportunity to see what this film would have done in theaters.
DuVall spoke to Variety about those myths, saying, "I think it’s a privilege. And yes, I know being the first comes with a lot of expectations. But I also felt like it’s so long overdue for a movie like this to be made on this scale, you know? All I really was hoping for is that it would give studios or streamers the impression that movies like this have an audience, and that people want to see them. I just wanted to do a good enough job that I would get to make more on a larger scale. That LGBTQ stories would be—you know, that there would be more of them!"
It's great to see films like this become breakout hits because I think it destroys old worries from studios and also gets them on board to greenlight more of this material. This will create more opportunities for people and ultimately, a better selection of media.
Did you watch Happiest Season? What did you think?
Let us know in the comments.