It’s hard to make a sequel as good as the first movie. And it’s even harder to make the third installment the best in a franchise.
But National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation managed to do just that, with the movie becoming an instant holiday favorite and one of the highest grossing films in the franchise after its release in 1989.
Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo reprised their roles as Clark and Ellen Griswold from the first two Vacation movies, while then-unknown actors Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki made their film debuts as their kids.
Made for $25 million, Christmas Vacation, which was penned by the legendary John Hughes and directed by Jeremiah Chechik, went on to gross over $72 million. While its box office performance wasn’t going to win Clark a bonus, the movie has gone on to become a modern Christmas classic in the 31 years since its debut.
Still, that doesn’t mean everything was holly and jolly while making the movie. One director exited the project after clashing with Chase, while Chechik later revealed he fought on set with another star. Plus, the studio was this close to cutting one of the most iconic scenes.
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