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Arthur Christmas (2011)

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Santa's clumsy son Arthur sets out on a mission with St. Nick's father to give out a present they misplaced to a young girl in less than 2 hours.


, (co-director)


(screenplay), (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur (voice)
Steve (voice)
Grandsanta (voice)
Santa (voice)
Mrs Santa (voice)
Bryony (voice)
Peter (voice)
Chief De Silva (voice)
Gwen (voice)
Ernie Clicker (voice)
Lead Elf (voice)
Lead Elf (voice)
Lead Elf (voice)
Lead Elf (voice)


Arthur Christmas reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child's question: 'So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?' The answer: Santa's exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the center of the film is a story about a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns. Written by Sony Pictures Animation

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Ever wonder how 2 Billion presents get delivered all in 1 night? See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild rude humor | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »




Release Date:

23 November 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Arthur Christmas in 3D  »


Box Office


$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£2,112,516 (United Kingdom), 13 November 2011, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,068,931, 18 November 2011, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


During the short scene when they are watching the news describing a fast moving UFO, there is a voice that sounds like Tom Hanks describing the UFO as a steam train. Possibly referencing The Polar Express (2004). See more »


When the seal enters Santa's North Pole Control Center a bird flies overhead and poops on Steve. The continuation of that scene shows no poop on his suit, and then it reappears a short while later. See more »


Santa: [in front of the enraptured elves who start cheering] MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Tonight we delivered Two Billion presents, on this my 70th Mission!
[Steve taps the microphone to make sure it is working]
Santa: Oh Thank you! Didn't I just think that sometimes I could not possibly do it all without you! And my splendid Margaret,
[Camera points to Margaret]
Santa: who stood by me for all these years, being very able doing all that stuff that women do while their husbands are at work, and Arthur doing all that vital ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the end of the credits, there is a seven second scene, all in black silhouette on a blue background. One of the elf-lowering-cables descends, pauses, then lifts up an elf, who proceeds to throw snowballs at the screen until it's all black. See more »


References Shaun the Sheep (2007) See more »


Make Someone Happy
Written by Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Jule Styne
Published by Warner/Chappell Music Ltd.
Produced by Harry Gregson-Williams
Performed by Bill Nighy
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Delightfully charming
19 November 2011 | by See all my reviews

Arthur Claus (James McAvoy) is the bumbling son of the reigning Santa, Malcolm Claus (Jim Broadbent). Arthur is relegated to the Letter Department where he can presumably do no damage. Arthur's brother Steve (Hugh Laurie) is the heir apparent to the title of Santa. Steve is handsome, confident, and in charge of the North Pole command center that monitors Santa's gift-giving flight around the world. The film opens with a bravura set piece showing how Santa is able to stop in millions of homes in one night. Hint: he has the help of thousands of elves.

When Arthur discovers that one gift was accidentally undelivered, he becomes determined to get it to the unfortunate girl before Christmas sunrise. Even with the help of his retired grandsanta (Bill Nighy) and a perky elf (Ashley Jensen) from the Wrapping Department, can Arthur travel around the world in time?

There have been many movies over the years where Christmas must be saved from disaster, but Arthur Christmas has a very creative take on it. From the opening scene where it's established that Santa is really a dynasty through the centuries, a title handed down from father to son, to the paramilitary operation to get millions of presents delivered in one night, to the misadventures of Arthur and his grandsanta as they try to make sure one little girl is not disappointed, Arthur Christmas is fun, creative, and original. Produced by Aardman Animations in association with Sony Pictures Animation, this CGI animated film delivers Aardman's distinct brand of quirky humor and style.

The art direction maintains the slightly skewed look of an Aardman claymation film. The character designs are asymmetric and the surface textures are realistic yet bold. The North Pole command center and Santa's high-tech sleigh are clean and modern.

Sometimes celebrity voice talent backfires, but here it works beautifully, the English accents lending a sense of gravity that heightens the silliness. Bill Nighy is particularly good, conveying wisdom that is tinged with resentment of the modern gift-delivery methods his son and grandson use.

Arthur Christmas is a funny, heartwarming, and poignant look at the Santa Claus mythos, adding a family dynamic that will resonate with children and adults. I expect Arthur Christmas will become a joyful holiday favorite for years to come.

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