Stills from Unmade Movies: Night Before Christmas Meets It's a Wonderful Life
It was going to be the greatest Christmas blockbuster of all time, bringing together two powerful brands, The Night before Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life, with a special twist for modern times -- but the financial backers lost all their money in the Bernie Madoff scandal.
Shooting began with expensive sets at the North Pole, where it turns out all is not well at Santa's Workshop. It seems the workshop had been refinanced several times to buy toy supplies. The mortgage bubble has burst, and foreclosure is imminent. Santa is desperate. He yells at the elves and battles with his wife. Finally he storms out of the house, hitches up the reindeer and careens off into the night. He crashes the sleigh into a house on Drake Street in Madison, Wisconsin. Sadly he lurches off to throw himself into an ice fishing hole on nearby Lake Monona, to end his misery and Christmas as we know it.
Fortunately he's saved by an old ice fisherman named Clarence with a wry, angelic countenance who teaches him the true meaning of Christmas. When he returns to the North Pole, he finds benefactors from around the world have paid off the mortgage and his sleigh is loaded and ready to go. With his jolly spirit restored and a cheery wink at Rudolph, he sets off on his Christmas Eve journey.
The sleigh crash was as far as they got with filming. The screenplay is still making the rounds, but so far hasn't found new backing. Nobody seems interested in a nice, simple heartwarming Christmas story anymore.