In March 2001, a U.S. District Court jury in Birmingham, Michigan, ruled that 20th Century Fox stole the script idea, "Jingle All the Way", from Detroit High School biology teacher, Brian Webster. The studio was ordered to pay $19 million, later reduced to $1.5 million. Webster submitted the script, then named "Could This Be Christmas?", to the studio in 1994 and never received payment or credit despite the film making $183 million. Fox appealed and the verdict was reversed, since Webster's script was submitted after the studio had already purchased a treatment (summary/outline) of what would become the film's script.
When Howard is in Jamie's room apologizing, in the background on Jamie's wall is a picture of the Incredible Hulk. In 1973, Arnold Schwarzenegger's friend and fellow body builder Lou Ferrigno starred in The Incredible Hulk (1978). They also starred together in Pumping Iron (1977) and have both played Hercules in separate movies.
After Howard is caught breaking into the neighbor's house, Ted says, "You can't bench press your way out of this one." This is a reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger's earlier years in which he was a professional bodybuilder.
In order for Howard and the mall Santa to enter the warehouse, the mall Santa has to use the password, "Jingle bells, Batman smells". Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared as himself in a photograph in Max Schrek's office in Batman Returns (1992) four years prior, and he would go on to play Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin (1997) a year later.
When Howard and Myron burst into the radio station, the D.J. is taking a call for the Eight Reindeer name contest. The incorrect names the contestant gives are: "Randy, Tito, and Jermaine". These are the names of three of Michael Jackson's brothers.
Both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jake Lloyd have played slaves and robots. Schwarzenegger played Conan in Conan the Barbarian (1982), in which he is enslaved as a boy. Schwarzenegger played the Terminator, a cyborg from the future, in "The Terminator" films. Lloyd played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), in which Anakin is an enslaved boy who later becomes a Jedi, and Lloyd also played the evil robotic Sith Lord Darth Vader.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's agent suggested Sinbad, but the producers felt he was unsuited to the role of a villain as it could harm his clean, family-oriented comedy act and reputation, although Sinbad felt the character would generate the audience's sympathy rather than hate. Furthermore, he missed the audition due to his appearance with Hillary Clinton and Sheryl Crow on the USO tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but Chris Columbus waited for him to return to allow him to audition and, although Sinbad felt he had "messed" it up, he was given the part.
Although Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that the Minnesota locals were "well-behaved" and "cooperative", Brian Levant often found filming "impossible" due to the scale and noise of the crowds who came to watch production, especially in the Mall of America, but overall found the locals to be "respectful" and "lovely people."
The parade was filmed at Universal Studios Hollywood in California on the New York Street set, due to safety concerns. The set was designed to resemble 2nd Avenue; the parade was shot from above by helicopters and stitched into matte shots of the real-life street. It took three weeks to film, with 1,500 extras being used in the scene, along with three custom designed floats.
As Arnold Schwarzenegger only signed on for the film in February and the film was shot so quickly, only six and a half months were available for merchandising, instead of the ideal year. As such, merchandising was limited to a 13.5 inch replica $25 Talking Turbo-Man action figure and the West Coast exclusive Turbo-Man Time Racer vehicle, while no tie-in promotions could be secured. Despite this, several critics wrote that the film was only being made in order to sell the toy. Chris Columbus dismissed this notion, stating that with only roughly 200,000 Turbo-Man toys being made, the merchandising was far less than the year's other releases, such as Space Jam (1996) and 101 Dalmatians (1996).
The world premiere was held on November 16, 1996 at the Mall of America in Bloomington where parts of the film were shot. A day of events was held to celebrate the film's release and Arnold Schwarzenegger donated memorabilia from the film to the Mall's Planet Hollywood.
In the scene where Arnold Schwarzenegger runs out of gas on the highway, he pushes the SUV in neutral in front of the diner. This is reminiscent of his film, Commando, where he pushes his SUV in neutral to chase his daughters captors down the hill with "no brakes".
The film draws inspiration from the high demand for Christmas toys such as the Cabbage Patch Kids and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which often led to intense searching and occasional violence amongst shoppers. Randy Kornfield wrote the film's original screenplay after witnessing his in-laws go to a Santa Monica toy store at dawn in order to get his son a Power Ranger. While admitting to missing the clamor for the Cabbage Patch Kids and Power Rangers, producer Chris Columbus experienced a similar situation in 1995 when he attempted to obtain a Buzz Lightyear action figure from Toy Story (1995). As a result, he rewrote Kornfield's script, which was accepted by 20th Century Fox.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
When Howard, dressed up as Turbo Man, gives Jamie the limited edition Turbo Man doll at the parade, Jamie asks him how he knows his name and Howard replies by saying "You see, Jamie, I'm your father!" This is a nod to Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), in which Darth Vader reveals to Luke Skywalker that he is Anakin by saying, "No! I am your father!" Jake Lloyd, who played Jamie, later went on to play young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999).