HALLMARK CINEMA CHICAGO — (AFP)– Hallmark celebrated its first Christmas with a big bang in a huge box office hit that also hit the big screen, but it’s the box office success that’s making the brand so much more.
On Thursday, the movie company’s Christmas Day debut was more than $70 million ahead of its predecessor, which had opened with $40.9 million.
Thats almost a million times the $17.4 million debut for the film from 2012’s “Hallmark Christmas.”
Hallmark has been trying to revive the brand in recent years, as the movie business has begun to shift away from traditional family-friendly Christmas movies.
In 2015, Hallmark pulled the plug on its brand Christmas movies, opting to focus on other brands such as Disney, Marvel, and Disney Junior.
Last year, the company released the first-ever live-action family Christmas film in decades, “Halloween,” starring Reese Witherspoon and Josh Gad.
Hallmark is also trying to shift to a “more family-centric” approach.
It has released films about the “tough times” of families during the Great Recession, as well as the “mommy-and-puppy” romance “Lilyhammer.”
“We’ve really been trying in the past few years to really do what the brands have always done, which is to try to create more families-centric experiences,” says Rob Riechmann, president of entertainment and consumer insights at Hallmark.
Riechman says that’s helped by the release of more “family-friendly” films.
“They’re more of an ensemble film, which makes for a more family-friendly experience,” he says.
And with more movies hitting the market this holiday season, it’s not only the big box office that Hallmark is hoping to tap into.
There are also a slew of new movies that have been released, and it’s only the beginning.