SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s not the highest-grossing movie at the box office of all time, but it’s certainly popular.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the most popular movie in most U.S. states, based on Google search trends. Wishlisted did an analysis of the 100 top IMB movies by Rotten Tomatoes, a movie critic site, of search trends in Google trends. That analysis showed the Christmas Vacation is the most popular in 40 of the 50 states.
“It’s one of those movies you never get tired of watching,” said Brian Anderson, who owns the Dells Theatre with his wife Regan. “It relates to a lot of families.”
The movie tells the story of the Griswold family at Christmas. Dad Clark wants to create the perfect Christmas but if you remember from prior Vacation movies with the Griswolds, he often messes up. Add in some colorful characters of family relatives, you’ve got a popular Christmas movie.
Movie watchers can identify with the storyline and scenes in the movie, Anderson said.
“I remember watching it as a kid and being like ‘I don’t want to go outside and help my dad with Christmas lights or being like ‘I’m not sleeping in the same room with my sister.’ That kind of thing,” Anderson said.
Adults can relate to the struggles the main character Clark Griswold has with relatives visiting and trying to create the perfect Christmas, Anderson said.
“Christmas Vacation” will return for a several-day run at the Dells Theatre starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16. It will be shown at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, Sunday, Dec. 18, Tuesday, Dec. 20 and Thursday, Dec. 22. with 4 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday, Anderson said.
“It might be a yearly thing where I bring it back every Christmas,” Anderson said.
The movie has become part of American culture.
“It ended up becoming one of the most surprisingly popular and oft-quoted holiday movies of all time,” Rolling Stone said in a Dec. 11, 2020, story.
“The whole movie’s just full of quotes,” Anderson said.
One of Anderson’s favorite scenes is with the neighbors of the Griswolds, Todd and Margo. The couple comes home to a wet carpet after a Clark mishap leads to snow and spillage in the couple’s home.
“‘Why is the carpet all wet, Todd?’ says Margo. “I don’t KNOW, Margo,’ says Todd,” Anderson said of a memorable and quotable scene. “I actually bought those sweaters. Me and my wife wore those last year.”
Sweaters with movie quotes are available. T-shirts too. There’s Christmas Vacation indoor and outdoor Christmas ornaments.
The scenes and the characters are memorable, Anderson said.
“I love them all, Cousin Eddie stands out for a lot of people,” Anderson said. Cousin Eddie is also one of his favorites.
Wishlisted said the movie is popular in search trends in most U.S. states. But, ironically, it’s not the most popular Christmas movie search in South Dakota. The top search is “Nightmare Before Christmas.”
No matter, Anderson expects the run to be pretty popular this holiday.
Generations of moviegoers will be at the movie. Grandparents come with their kids and grandkids. “Some are seeing it for the first time and some are seeing it for the 100th time,” he said.
People can watch the movie at home but there is something about the shared experience in a theater, Anderson said.
“It’s the gathering, everybody that comes there, they are wanting to see a great movie and have laughs. I always find it a little bit more funny when everybody else is laughing because it makes me laugh harder and then other people are laughing harder,” Anderson said. “It’s just a great time.”
Anderson said it’s likely some people will watch it more than once because they want to see it in a theatre and later, they may want to see it again with a group of family.
“It’s become a Christmas classic,” Anderson said.