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With a 72 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and a current box office gross of over $21 million, Universal Pictures' Violent Night is on track to become a new holiday classic. Written by Sonic the Hedgehog scribes, Pat Casey and Josh Miller, the film stars David Harbour (Stranger Things) as a badass version of Kris Kringle, who takes a break from delivering presents to kick some home invader ass when they threaten a kid on the nice list.
It's just the kind of gonzo genre mash-up you'd expect from director Tommy Wirkola, whose resume also includes Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and the Dead Snow films. "When I read that script, the first thing I said was, 'I was born to make this film,'" he said during a recent conversation with The Hollywood Reporter. "It was just so up my alley, and I knew I could do the tone, the crazy action, the humor and all that stuff. But what was really appealing to me was the Christmas movie nature of it."
As Violent Night continues to connect with audiences and rack up those holly jolly ticket sales, we wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if there's even talk of a sequel at the studio. And while Wirkola is hesitant to sabotage the odds of another movie getting made, he can't help but ponder where the story and world-building can go from here.
"Of course, the writers have talked about it, and I have thrown some ideas out there," he admitted. "We don’t see the North Pole, we don’t see Mrs. Claus and we don’t see the elves. There were also a few ideas that we loved in the script, but we had to cut them because we couldn’t afford to shoot them. It’s such a cliché to say, but we all had a blast doing this film. So I really hope we get to explore it more."
He later went on to reveal that the climax was originally more complex with an appearance from Mrs. Claus and the lead mercenary, Scrooge (played by John Leguizamo), flying off in a helicopter.
"And then there was a big chase with a bazooka, but we realized pretty quickly we couldn’t do that with our budget. So we changed things around and brought in snowmobiles, which I love, personally. I always wanted to do a snowmobile bit in a movie. Except for James Bond and Die Hard 2, there’s very few snowmobiles in movies. I also really wanted that final fight to be more of a personal thing between Santa and Scrooge. So, in the end, scaling it down really worked to our advantage because it made it more personal."
Violent Night is now playing in theaters everywhere.
Feeling festive? How The Grinch Stole Christmas! (the 1966 animated special) is now streaming on Peacock.