NEW YORK — While your friends and relatives argue whether “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie or not, a new study finds most would be shocked to know it was a Christmas book first! Seven in 10 Americans don’t know that “Die Hard” and “Mean Girls” are actually based on books.
In a recent survey of 2,000 Americans, 63 percent say they’re more likely to see a movie this holiday season if they know it’s based on a successful book. The same percentage add they read more than usual during the holidays.
While the average person reads 4.5 hours a week, they’ll add around six more hours when the festivities roll around each year. Nearly three in four (72%) believe it helps them relax during the sometimes-stressful time of year, while 67 percent cited an increase in their free time as a reason they read more.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ThriftBooks, the survey also looked at people’s thoughts on movie adaptations, as well as holiday novels on the big screen. More than half the poll will usually watch a movie first, then read the book to compare.
‘The book was way better…’
Regardless of what order they enjoy these stories in, two in three agree the book is usually better, with more men than women sharing this sentiment (73% vs. 65%). The main reasons for this include the presence of more details in the book (69%) and the movie’s misalignment with the imagery in the book (57%).
Interestingly, when asked to choose their favorite book-to-screen authors, more men than women named Nicholas Sparks (32% vs. 25%). While movie adaptations often deviate from the source material, people are OK with up to a 23-percent digression before it becomes an issue.
The changes that bother Americans the most are characters who don’t match physical descriptions from the book (52%) or have different personalities (51%), as well as a different setting or time period (43%). These changes upset people more so than different accents (28%) or a different ending (27%).
Another element that can be bothersome? Historical inaccuracies, which people tend to notice more so in movies (59%) than in books (38%). However, three-fifths believe these diversions don’t matter if they help to create the best story.
“It’s interesting to see that whether or not a story closely corresponds with reality isn’t always the primary factor that makes it enjoyable,” says a ThriftBooks spokesperson in a statement. “People may also be more likely to consider a story worthwhile if it’s been adapted into multiple formats over the years.”
What exactly is a ‘Christmas movie’?
Respondents also settled the age-old question of what counts as a “Christmas movie,” defining it as any film that features Christmas-related characters like Santa Claus (58%) or takes place during this time (55%).
While “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (41%) topped the list of unconventional yuletide flicks, more than a quarter (26%) consider “Die Hard” to be a Christmas movie. That’s more than those who think “Trading Places” (20%) and “You’ve Got Mail” (14%) count as holiday films.
“Our survey found that the characters and setting play a key role in determining how people define holiday films, more than whether they’re shown during this time,” the spokesperson adds. “At the same time, those who prefer nontraditional Christmas movies have different preferences, from fantasy and action to comedy and romance.”