Entertainment

20 holiday movies that you won't find on streaming services this season

Key Points
  • Family-friendly flicks like "Elf," "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman" won't appear on popular platforms like Netflix, Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video this holiday season.
  • Scooping up these titles isn't very appealing to streaming companies. 
  • Instead, the owners of the content are much more interested in licensing holiday films to broadcasters to show during the holidays.
Bob Newhart and Will Ferrell star in "Elf."
Warner Bros.

With the flood of new streaming services, you might expect a favorite holiday movie is just a few clicks away. But you'd be mistaken.

Cheery, family-friendly flicks like "Elf," "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman" won't appear on popular platforms like Netflix, Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video, despite being massively popular movies for families to watch together.

Fandango compiled a list of the 20 holiday classics that are currently unavailable on streaming services.

Many of them are owned by studios that do not have streaming services or are gearing up to launch platforms in 2020. Still, scooping up these titles isn't very appealing to companies like Netflix.

The films, while popular in December, wouldn't entice users the rest of the year and aren't likely to drive customers to sign up or stay with a streaming service.

Still from "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."
Classic Media | CBS

Instead, the owners of the content are much more interested in licensing films like "A Christmas Carol" and "The Polar Express" to broadcasters to show during the holidays. If you can only catch "Rudolph" at a certain time and date once, or maybe twice a year, there's a much greater sense of urgency for viewers to tune in. And some shows, like "Frosty the Snowman" (Nov. 29, 7 p.m., CBS) air as soon as the holiday season kicks off after Thanksgiving.

Most consumers aren't interested in watching holiday movies outside of the season. So, come January, streaming services would be stuck with a title that few people would watch.

Of course, cord-cutters have the option to purchase DVD, BluRay and digital copies of many of these films as well as rent or buy them from on-demand streaming services like FandangoNOW, Vudu and Google Play.

Chevy Chase stars in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."
Warner Bros.

Here's Fandango's full list of the top holiday movies and specials that are not currently available on subscription services:

  1. "Elf" (2003)
  2. "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (1989)
  3. "The Polar Express" (2004)
  4. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1964)
  5. "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (1966)
  6. "Four Christmases" (2008)
  7. "Frosty the Snowman" (1969)
  8. "The Holiday" (2006)
  9. "Arthur Christmas" (2011)
  10. "The Night Before" (2015)
  11. "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" (1987)
  12. "A Christmas Carol" (1938)
  13. "A Christmas Carol" (1984)
  14. "A Christmas Carol" (2012)
  15. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965)
  16. "Gremlins" (1984)
  17. "Jack Frost" (1998)
  18. "Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas" (2013)
  19. "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944)
  20. "Edward Scissorhands" (1990)

Disclosure: Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC, owns Fandango.

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