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Streaming services have released 150 holiday-themed films this November and December. While they won’t win Oscars, they’re often binge-watching favorites.
Illustration: Jordan Speer for Bloomberg Businessweek
On the evening of Nov. 16, a corner of the Warner Bros. studio lot was festooned with string lights and tinsel hanging above tables lined with chocolate fountains and gingerbread cookies. Santa Claus asked children if they’d been naughty or nice while a red carpet, flanked by two Christmas trees, welcomed stars of the three movies that premiered that night: A Christmas Mystery, Holiday Harmony and A Hollywood Christmas.
It’s not the sort of fare Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., which manages multibillion-dollar franchises such as Batman and Game of Thrones, is typically known for. Each holiday film was produced on a shoestring budget of $3 million to $5 million for HBO Max, the company’s streaming service, by the professional race-car driver Ali Afshar. But they’re part of an increasingly crucial genre for Hollywood as studios navigate the Age of the Binge heralded by Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and other platforms.