Everyone’s Favorite Holiday Movie Is Already Topping Streaming Charts

Elf is currently in the top five most-streamed movies on HBO Max.

By Matthew Creith | Published

As the holiday season rolls around, many people are already putting up lights and Christmas trees and audiences appear to be looking for some of their favorite holiday movies to enjoy with their families and friends. Climbing the streaming charts this week is one of the all-time classics, the movie Elf, directed by Jon Favreau. According to FlixPatrol, the holiday-themed flick has jumped to the number three spot on HBO Max, beating out other well-known titles like six of the eight Harry Potter films and the new baseball documentary Say Hey, Willie Mays!


Starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, and Zooey DeschanelElf tells the story of Buddy the Elf, who learns that his biological father resides in New York City, so he sets off on a quest from the North Pole to meet his estranged father. Backed by a hilarious ensemble cast that includes Academy Award winner Mary Steenburgen and veteran television stars Edward Asner and Bob Newhart, Elf opened in theaters on November 7, 2003.

In the last two decades, the movie has surpassed other well-known classics like It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas to take over the holiday season, often replaying the film in non-stop marathons on cable networks like TBS.

Elf is notable for its use of Will Ferrell after he left the sketch-comedy series Saturday Night Live to star in comedies on the big screen, as well as one of Zooey Deschanel’s pre-New Girl appearances in movies. Prior to his work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jon Favreau directed Elf after the success of his independent feature film Made, marking the first large-scale commercial endeavor of the young director’s career. As a sophomoric effort on Favreau’s part, Elf was an incredibly financially successful film at the time, grossing over $225 million against a budget of $33 million upon its release.

The movie was also praised by critics and audiences alike, marking some of the best reviews of Will Ferrell’s acting career. Rotten Tomatoes currently ranks Elf as Certified Fresh with an 85% on its Tomatometer based on 198 critics’ reviews, as well as an Audience Score of 79% from over 250,000 ratings by verified users to the site. Similarly, Metacritic reflects a Metascore of 64 based on 38 critics’ reviews and a User Score of 8.5 from 377 ratings from users, which typically denotes generally favorable reviews from critics and universal acclaim from audiences.

As a standalone film not backed by an existing franchise, Elf has received high praise as a Christmas movie in the years since its release. Due to the film’s popularity, a Broadway musical entitled Elf: The Musical was produced in 2010 and ran for several years in New York City before moving across the pond in 2015 for a West End debut in London. Since then, several attempts at a movie sequel have been made, but with the deaths of Ed Asner in 2021 and James Caan earlier this summer, another iteration featuring the remaining cast members seems to be highly unlikely at this point.