Here’s what you need to know about HBO’s new ‘Christmas Story Christmas’ sequel

Ralphie Parker is back!

When it comes to identifying holiday hits, it’s hard to find a more deserving flick than the 1983 classic “A Christmas Story.” Starring Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin and Peter Billingsley, the iconic movie tells the story of nine-year-old Ralphie Parker’s eventful Christmas and his obsession with the Red Ryder air rifle.

In an attempt to recapture the Christmas magic, HBO Max has released “A Christmas Story Christmas.” It’s a sequel that sees Parker (once again played by Peter Billingsley) back in action for another Christmas extravaganza.

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“The family comedy ‘A Christmas Story Christmas’ is the long-awaited follow-up to annual holiday favorite, ‘A Christmas Story,’ HBO Max’s description said. “This time, Ralphie is all grown up and must deal with Christmas and all that comes with it…as a dad. Peter Billingsley returns to the role that has made kids of all ages anticipate Christmas morning like no other.”

Now streaming, the sequel was released Thursday, Nov. 17 — just one day shy of the original film’s Nov. 18, 1983 release date. With a 73% score on Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer and an 82% Audience Score, HBO Max’s sequel release is getting a lukewarm reception at the time of this writing. Of course, as The Hollywood Reporter noted, it took some time for the original film to reach its cult-hit status as well.

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Speaking to Collider, Peter Billingsley said that the original film’s lukewarm reception may have been a blessing in disguise.

“I certainly had a great experience doing it,” he said. “I’m sure you’ve heard about horrible experiences on movies. Those happen. That was not one of them. It was a really positive one. Maybe it was a blessing that it wasn’t a success, instantly, because then it developed an appreciation, and maybe we all grew to appreciate the movie more.”