Miracle on 34th Street Remake: The Key Change from the Original Version

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When discussing timeless Christmas films, “Miracle on 34th Street” from 1947 invariably enters the conversation. This classic holds a special place in the holiday canon. However, an intriguing fact about its 1994 remake might surprise you: a major change was necessitated from the cherished original script—the setting, specifically Macy’s department store in New York City.

For those who haven’t experienced the ’90s rendition of “Miracle on 34th Street,” the story unfolds within Cole’s Department Store and was filmed in Chicago. This stark deviation from the ’40s version, primarily set in Macy’s New York City store on 34th Street, might appear peculiar given the film’s title and iconic storyline. Yet, the ’90s film, directed by Les Mayfield, encountered script rewrites due to logistical challenges during filming.

According to an archived report from the LA Times, Macy’s declined involvement in the remake, resulting in the iconic Herald Square location in Manhattan being off-limits to the production team.

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Laura Melillo, a Macy’s spokeswoman, remarked, “We feel the original stands on its own and could not be improved upon,” effectively concluding Macy’s participation refusal. Consequently, the script introduced Cole’s, a fictional department store, as a substitute for the New York setting.

Despite the absence of Macy’s in the remake, the family-oriented movie managed to amass a respectable $46.3 million at the box office and garnered an average Rotten Tomatoes rating of 60%. Comparing it to the Academy Award-winning 1947 film might suggest a lesser reception. However, considering the challenges faced, the new iteration of the Santa Claus-centered tale fared reasonably well.