Buddy the Elf returns to the big screen for 20th anniversary of movie

​Warner Bros. Discovery announced new events and products to mark the anniversary of the now-treasured holiday movie.
Will Ferrell attends the UK Premiere of 'Daddy's Home 2' in London, England
Posted at 5:31 PM, Nov 08, 2023

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear … and by watching the Will Ferrell film “Elf” to celebrate its 20th anniversary. 

Warner Bros. Discovery announced new events and products to mark the anniversary of the now-treasured holiday movie, which follows the story of Buddy the Elf – a human raised by Santa’s elves who embarks on a journey from the North Pole to New York City to find his biological father, played by the late James Caan. 

On Tuesday, the top of the Empire State Building, where Buddy the Elf’s “real” dad worked in the movie, was lit up with green and yellow lights as a tribute to Buddy’s iconic outfit. 

The movie will be re-released in select theaters starting Nov. 17 and, if you’re in New York City, the Empire State Building is also hosting three special screenings of the movie on Dec. 3, 10 and 17 on the building’s 80th floor. 

Warner Bros. Discovery noted you can also stream the film on Max and Hulu if you can’t make it to a participating cinema. 

There’s also new Buddy the Elf merchandise in the Warner Bros. online shop, including everything from wrapping paper and pancake mix to “world’s best cup of coffee” mugs and Elf-themed Monopoly. 

“For 20 years now, the film ‘Elf’ has securely cemented itself as a treasured holiday tradition, touching the hearts of generations of viewers,” said Robert Oberschelp with Warner Bros. Discovery. “Fueled by the infectious holiday spirit of Buddy the Elf, Warner Bros. Discovery is going all in with an extraordinary lineup of ways to watch ‘Elf’ and engage with products, experiences, activations, and so much more to invite fans to partake in this remarkable milestone anniversary. Our aim is to inspire more and lasting ‘Elf’ traditions that families can enjoy for many years to come.”

The New Line Cinema movie, originally released in 2003, is one of the most successful holiday movies of all time and has grossed $223.9 million worldwide, according to IMDb. 

According to multiple reports, when the script for the movie first came out, Jim Carrey was the leading candidate for the role of Buddy the Elf. But producer Todd Komarnicki told Yahoo Entertainment in 2018 that they knew it was meant for Ferrell when they took a look at the story. 

In a 2021 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ferrell confirmed he turned down a sequel to the movie even though it would have made him $29 million richer.