Hallmark Released The Same Holiday Movie Twice

Holiday Hallmark movies are like their own cinematic universe at this point. They have clichéd tropes, predictable endings, and often indistinguishable plots from one another. But that’s why we love them! We know what we’re gonna get, which is especially comforting during the stress and chaos of the holiday season.

Well, a few days ago, Dan Harmon (creator of Community spirit Rick and Morty) posted a little discovery he made to Instagram: Hallmark basically released the same movie…twice.

The movies in question were Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday spirit Sister Swap: Christmas in the Cityrespectively.

At first, he thought the films were part of a sequential franchise, but when he dug a little deeper, he saw that they were both released in 2021.

Dan went on to explain that “the dialogue in each version is identical, but the scenes are cut differently because I assume they just had different editors.”

He then pointed out that “nothing in the description of the movies” explains why these films are so similar, and that “each movie [is] honestly mostly excited that two real-life sisters are playing sisters.”

HMM. Well, at this point, I immediately needed to know more (and by “more,” I mean EVERYTHING) about the production and distribution of this movie, but facts seemed to be few and far between.

I did find out that both films were released exactly one week apart during Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas” lineup last year.

Both films were written and directed by the same people, and have an almost identical cast, including real-life sisters Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Ashley Williams.

And that the movies even had the same editor, Kristi Shimek.

Since this would have been a mystery that haunted me for years, I went back to Dan Harmon’s post to see if anyone else knew more than I did, and that’s when I saw it: Kimberly Williams-Paisley, one of the swapped sisters herself, commented on the post.

She said, “We wanted to do something outside the box for the genre but also stay in the genre, and my sister came up with this brilliant idea of ​​two films that take place in the same time frame and sometimes overlap, and it took us years to figure out the puzzle, and then, Hallmark finally let us DO IT.”

What?! The answer was so simple, yet so complicated. But I field relief, nevertheless.

But I still wanted to know more. And when I FINALLY went to watch the two films on Hallmark’s streaming service, Hallmark Movies Now, I found a featurette called “Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday: On Location.” I’ve never clicked on anything so fast in my life.

There the sisters were, giving me all the details I’d been craving:

Kimberly Williams-Paisley explained that she stars in one movie, her sister stars in the other, and that they then “cross into each other’s movies.”

The movies are, in fact, completely different from one another and only overlap a handful of times since each film follows a different sister. And when they do overlap, the editor chose different shots or takes, so it doesn’t feel stale watching the same (or very similar scenes) over again.

This idea is kind of groundbreaking, tbh. And I’m surprised Hallmark didn’t make a bigger deal out of this whole concept.

In Dan Harmon’s post, he said that we, as a society, “don’t [normally] go to Hallmark for experimentation,” but honestly, maybe we should. The film industry is changing, and if this is the future, sign me up!

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