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  • Richard Attenborough’s portrayal of Kris Kringle in 1994 hit Miracle on 34th Street has been dubbed Brits’ favourite movie Santa
  • Attenborough beat the likes of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Billy Bob Thornton to the top spot, according new poll by ODEON Cinemas
  • Cinema chain gears up for another year of festive film as Classic Christmas screenings hit the silver screen from 6th December

Britain’s favourite Santa Claus is Kris Kringle, as played by Richard Attenborough in the 1994 classic film Miracle on 34th Street.

ODEON – Europe’s largest cinema group – asked more than 2,000 British film fans to vote for their favourite silver screen Santa as the cinema chain gears up for the Christmas season, which will see classic films played alongside new blockbuster releases on the silver screen.

Attenborough beat a host of famed Santas including Tom Hanks in 3D animated musical fantasy film The Polar Express (11 per cent) and Tim Allen in The Santa Clause (nine per cent) which sees the American actor magically recruited as the next Santa.

Edmund Gwenn and Sebastian Cabot, who both played Kris Kringle in the 1947 and 1973 versions of Miracle on 34th Street, also featured in the top 10 alongside other well-known faces such as Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa, Alec Baldwin in Rise of the Guardians and Jim Broadbent in both Arthur Christmas and Get Santa.

Film fans also voted for their favorite Mrs. Claus with Angela Lansbury in Mrs. Santa Claus taking top spot with 25 per cent of public votes.

Others who made the top five included Miranda Richardson in Fred Claus (17 per cent), Imelda Staunton in Arthur Christmas (16 per cent), Judy Cornwell in Santa Claus (11 per cent) and Elizabeth Mitchel in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (seven per cent).

ODEON will be screening classics including Britain’s favourite Christmas film*, It’s A Wonderful Life (screenings on December 6th), Jingle All The Way on December 11th and Trading Places on December 13th.

Filmgoers will also have the chance to watch the nation’s fourth favourite Santa, Billy Bob Thornton, as the actor reprises his role in Bad Santa 2 which hits ODEON cinemas screens on Friday 9th December.

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TOP 25 SILVER SCREEN SANTAS:

1) Richard Attenborough, as Kris Kringle in Miracle On 34th Street, 1994 – 23%

2) Tom Hanks as Santa Claus in The Polar Express, 2004 – 11%

3) Tim Allen, as Scot Calvin/Santa Claus in The Santa Clause, 1994 – 9%

4) Billy Bob Thornton, as Willie in Bad Santa, 2003 – 8%

5) Edmund Gwenn, as Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street, 1947 – 6%

6) Edward Asner, as Santa in Elf, 2003 – 5%

7) Sebastian Cabot, as Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street, 1973 – 4%

8) David Huddleston, as Santa Claus in Santa Claus: The Movie, 1985 – 3%

9) James Cosmo, as Father Christmas in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 2005 – 3%

10) Jim Broadbent, as Santa in Arthur Christmas, 2011 – 3%

11) Leslie Neilsen, as Santa in All I Want For Christmas, 1991 – 3%

12) Edward Ivory, as Santa in The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993 – 2.2%

13) Richard Griffiths, as Santa Claus in A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa, 2008 – 2.2%

14) Mickey Rooney, as Kris Kringle/Santa Claus in Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, 1970 – 1.9%

15) John Goodman, as Santa Claus in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie, 1998 – 1.5%

16) Jim Broadbent, as Santa Claus in Get Santa, 2014 – 1.5%

17) Alec Baldwin, as North in Rise of the Guardians, 2012 – 1.4%

18) Paul Giamatti, as Nick ‘Santa’ Claus in Fred Claus, 2007 – 0.9%

19) Steve Bacic, as Nickolas St. Clair in Deck the Halls, 2006 – 0.5%

20) Charles Durning, as Nicholas XX in Mr. St. Nick, 2002 – 0.5%

21) Jose Elias Moreno, as Santa Claus in Santa Claus, 1959 – 0.5%

22) Douglas Campbell, as Santa Claus in Once Upon a Christmas, 2000 – 0.3%

23) John Call as Santa Claus, as Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, 1964 – 0.3%

24) Austin Pendleton, as Umbrella Santa/Marty in Christmas with the Kranks, 2004 – 0.2%

25) Dan Ackroyd, as Santa in Trading Places, 1983 – 0.1%

Andy Edge, Commercial Director at ODEON UK and Ireland said:

“From Tom Hanks to Tim Allen, Edmund Gwenn to Mickey Rooney – many famous faces have taken on the challenge of playing the big man himself, but it seems that no one has quite the same on-screen magic as Richard Attenborough.”

“Whoever your favourite silver screen Santa is, Christmas really isn’t Christmas without some festive film. Whether it’s old classics or new blockbusters, we can’t wait to open our doors and celebrate the season with our guests in the coming weeks.”

In addition to classic Christmas screenings, ODEON will also open its doors in select cinemas on Christmas Day with a selection of Hollywood and Bollywood titles on offer to film fans.

To help keep the whole family entertained, ODEON Kids screenings will run every day during the Christmas break, with tickets from just £2.50*.

For more information on festive film celebrations at ODEON visit http://www.odeon.co.uk.

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