RELEASE DATE Nov. 24
Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis play empty nesters whose over-the-top devotion to Christmas cheer makes them the toast of their suburban Illinois town each December. But when their only child (Julie Gonzalo) breaks the news that she won't be home for the holidays, the crushed Kranks make like Scrooges and forgo their annual ritual -- much to the chagrin of their disgruntled community.
Based on John Grisham's best-seller ''Skipping Christmas,'' the comedy was adapted by ''Home Alone'' director Chris Columbus, who then pitched helming duties to Revolution Studios chief Joe Roth (''America's Sweethearts''). Once on board, and with his Grisham-approved first-choice leads in place, the director had to figure out how to create a winter wonderland under the toasty California sun. ''Because I produced the Oscars, I wasn't able to start shooting while it was still winter in the Midwest, so we decided to build an entire neighborhood on a parking lot,'' says Roth, noting that the snow-covered set -- the length of two football fields -- is now the largest staged exterior neighborhood in Hollywood.
For Curtis, there was only one thing better than frolicking in a holiday bubble: her comedic chemistry with Allen. ''The truth is, we make a really good married couple,'' she says. In fact, Curtis and Co. enjoyed themselves so much that there's already talk of sequels. ''This could certainly be a franchise,'' says Roth. ''Summer vacation? Europe? Halloween? You could hit them all. [But] the audience has to tell us that.''
WHAT'S AT STAKE That potential ''Kranks'' franchise. Curtis is hot, thanks to last year's ''Freaky Friday,'' but Allen's '90s-era star may have faded. Still: Remember ''The Santa Clause''?