‘Happiest Season’ Had the ‘Best Viewership’ of Any Hulu Original Movie; Clea Duvall Is Down for a Sequel

With physical movie theaters not being the safest option this holiday season, the best place to get your Christmas movie fix is on streaming platforms. And what’s the biggest, new holiday movie drop? The Christmas rom-com starring Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Aubrey Plaza, and Dan Levy. Happiest Season caused quite the stir on social media, but all that discourse and LGBTQ representation, has made it a big success. Will it get a sequel? [Spoiler alert: Some minor spoilers for Happiest Season ahead].

‘Happiest Season’ is one of the first LGBTQ Christmas movies backed by a major studio 

Clea DuVall (writer/director), Kristen Stewart (who plays Abby), and Mackenzie Davis (who plays Harper) on the set of 'Happiest Season'
Clea DuVall (writer/director), Kristen Stewart (who plays Abby), and Mackenzie Davis (who plays Harper) on the set of ‘Happiest Season’ | Lacey Terrell/Hulu

RELATED: ‘Happiest Season’ Is Groundbreaking as the First Same-Sex Christmas Rom-Com

Even though there are different types of Christmas movies, it’s still its own genre, to be honest. Especially when it comes to romantic holiday films. But not many are about same-sex couples. This year, though, Happiest Season changed that. 

Written and directed by Clea DuVall, Happiest Season was one of the first LGBTQ Christmas rom-coms backed by a major studio and put on a large streaming platform. It told the story of Abby (Stewart) and Harper (Davis), a couple who’ve been dating for a little over a year. Harper invited Abby to her family’s house for Christmas, without telling her that she actually wasn’t out to them yet. 

On top of that, she didn’t tell them that Abby was lesbian either. So for five days, Abby has to “stay in the closet,” so to speak and she and Harper have to hide their relationship. It, of course, becomes tricky when Harper starts to revert back to who her parents think she is or wants her to be.

It sparked a lot of controversy online in terms of how horrible some thought Harper was versus why she was that way (spoiler: It’s because of her parents). And then add Plaza’s irresistibly amicable Riley into the mix and viewers had many thoughts on how the movie should have ended. 

The movie had the ‘best viewership’ for any Hulu original film

With that said, many people still watched the movie. And that’s not just within the Twitter vacuum. Variety tweeted on Dec. 1 that Happiest Season broke the record for Hulu by “attaining the best viewership for any original film on the service in its opening weekend.” In addition to that, it brought the most, new subscribers to Hulu than any other new title before.

With all the discussion online and with so many people making TikTok videos about it as well, it’s not hard to see why that is. There really is such a hunger for queer content and movies about same-sex couples. A movie about lesbians being one of the biggest titles to ever premiere on a major streaming platform hopefully opens a lot of major studios’ eyes to what type of media is needed. 

As for Harper and the disdain that some people had for her, DuVall told Variety in an interview on Dec. 1 that she understands the frustration with her storyline, but that “being closeted is really painful.” 

“It’s not an easy place to be. And I think having compassion for someone in that situation is really important,” she said. “The character of Harper is someone who I think feels a lot of shame about it — she feels bad. None of this is, like, easy for her, you know?”

Having written her and spending four years with the character, DuVall said that she understands her and ultimately just wants what’s best for her. 

“I think the message that you can mess up, and that you can do the work and get better is really important,” she stated. “And be kind to yourself, and have compassion. Because I think compassion is in short supply.”

Clea DuVall is down to make a sequel 

With the hopefulness for more LGBTQ stories to come out of Happiest Season’s success, could there be a possibility of a sequel too? Those numbers definitely give more hope, and DuVall is down. 

“I would love to do a sequel,” she told Variety. 

As to what it could be about, she said that while filming the movie, she and the cast already sort of talked about what could happen. She also said she has a “couple of ideas.” She also noted, though, that they had no idea that anyone would care for the movie as much as they did. With the acceptance that it’s received, she’s “more than open to it” now. 

Variety then noted that this is the “first feature centered on lesbians” that’s gone viral. When asked how DuVall feels about that, she didn’t really know what that meant. But overall, she’s “just so thrilled” that people have seen the movie and feel something because of it. And that it’s opened up a discussion across platforms and among friends. 

“There’s been so little visibility that for something like this to come out and be so visible and so seen and wanted to be seen by so many people — it’s very humbling,” she said. “It’s really wild.”

RELATED: ‘Happiest Season’: Mary Holland Weighs in on the Debate About That Ending