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Hallmark Christmas Movies Rarely Cost Over $2 Million to Make

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Hallmark Channel Christmas movies have become a surprising juggernaut, drawing tens of millions of viewers yearly worldwide. While Hollywood becomes ever more complex, Hallmark uses a simple stroke to keep viewers returning every holiday season. With familiar stories and a rock-solid brand, the family-friendly channel consistently turns shoestring budgets into massive successes. A decade after the phenomenon began to take shape, Hallmark Christmas movies boast an ROI that would make most movie producers blush.

The rise of Hallmark Christmas movies

Hallmark Christmas movies: 'Jolly Good Christmas'
Reshma Shetty and Will Kemp in ‘Jolly Good Christmas’ | Rob Baker Ashton/Hallmark Media

The made-for-TV Christmas phenomenon got its start with ABC Family, which targeted holiday crowds through its “25 Days of Christmas” in the 1990s, Mental Floss reports. When ABC Family began to focus on other programming, the Hallmark Channel started filling the void after its official launch in 2001. By 2017, Hallmark was rolling out up to 33 original movies for the holiday season, each with a production price tag of about $2 million, according to Business Insider.