Hollywood bidding war for A Christmas Carol

Clockwise from top left: Disney 2009, Muppets, Ice Cube, Scrooge McDuck.

In 2017, Universal Pictures will release a new film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s famous Christmas novel. What can we learn from this 170-year-old story?

What’s happening

Ebenezer Scrooge has appeared in 22 films since 1901. Now, four Hollywood studios have been bidding against each other to win the rights to a modern retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. In the end, Universal paid ‘six figures’ for the film, which will star the American rapper Ice Cube.

Find out more

First published in 1843, the book has never been out of print. In fact, it was so popular that it changed the way people celebrated Christmas. Instead of thinking about religion and church, they began to see it as a time of generosity and family. It even made ‘Merry Christmas!’ a common festive saying.

A Christmas Carol tells how a greedy and selfish miser is visited in turn by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. They show him his life and the past moments he regrets, the happiness his employees can enjoy despite their poverty, and finally how poorly he will be remembered when he is dead.

Shocked by what he has seen, Scrooge repents and learns to love Christmas. He joins in the celebrations and does his best to help the poor.

Some say…

A Christmas Carol is still popular because it shows that people can change. Self-help books and tales of redemption are popular features of the 21st century. This is especially true at Christmastime when we are thinking about the year that has passed and the one that is ahead of us. Charles Dickens’s story remains up to date in modern times.

Others think…

The story of Scrooge is still told today because it warns us not to be greedy. This is particularly important now, when the government says a third of (or 19 million) British people have lived in poverty since 2010. Yet many people only think of Christmas as a time for expensive presents. We should all remember Dickens’s message more often.

You Decide

  1. Why do people love A Christmas Carol?

Activities

  1. Imagine you are making a modern-day Christmas Carol. Where will you set it? And who will be Scrooge?

Some People Say...

“Human nature is selfish.”

What do you think?

Word Watch

Bidding
Competing by offering more money, as in an auction.
Six figures
A number between 100,000 and 999,999.
Out of print
A book which is no longer being printed because not enough people want to buy it.
Miser
Someone who hoards (stores or hides away) wealth but gets or gives no happiness from spending money.
Poverty
Not having enough money.
Repents
To feel sorry for past behaviour, and decide to change.
Redemption
To be forgiven and make up for past behaviour.

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