55 How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) Facts You Never Knew Before

One of the most popular films across TV and streaming services at Christmas time is How The Grinch Stole Christmas from 2000. Based on the Dr. Seuss children’s book of the same name from 1957, this comedy fantasy film is directed by Ron Howard and stars Jim Carrey in the lead role. Our How The Grinch Stole Christmas facts include the wild way Jim Carrey dealt with wearing the latex suit, the hoops jumped through to secure Dr. Seuss' film rights and how many jumpers had to be made for the Whos!

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One of the most popular films across TV and streaming services at Christmas time is How The Grinch Stole Christmas from 2000. Based on the Dr. Seuss children’s book of the same name from 1957, this comedy fantasy film is directed by Ron Howard and stars Jim Carrey in the lead role. Cast members include Jeffery Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin and Molly Shannon in supporting roles. The film is also narrated by Sir Anthony Hopkins. 

If you haven’t seen the Grinch so far, here is a quick introduction… Everyone in Whoville loves Christmas but they also dislike the Grinch who lives in a cave on Mount Crumpit. He is mean-spirited and really hates the Christmas season. Cindy Lou Who, a six year old who, thinks that everyone is focusing more on the festivities rather than their relationships and she meets the Grinch one day at the post office where he saves her life after getting stuck in the mail shaft. Because of this heroic act, Cindy starts becoming inquisitive about the Grinch and research is his past. When Cindy finds out that the Grinch really isn’t a threat to the town or a horrible person, she tries to change his reputation and bring him out of the cave for the Christmas celebrations. 

1. The Grinch Was The First Dr. Seuss Book To Be A Feature Length Film

How The Grinch Stole Christmas is actually the first Dr. Seuss book to be adapted into a full-length feature film and the first of only 2 live action Dr. Seuss films including The Cat In The Hat released in 2003.

2. An Animated Version Of The Grinch Was Previously Released

In 1966 an animated TV special called How The Grinch Stole Christmas was released.

3. Critics Didn’t Like How Dark The Adaptation Was

Upon its release in the United States on the 17th of November 2000, How The Grinch Stole Christmas received mixed reviews. Many critics praised Jim Carrey’s performance but were somewhat baffled by the dark theme and scary moments which deviated from the original source material. Nevertheless it’s been four weeks at number one in the United States and grossed US$345 million worldwide.

4. It Was The Sixth Highest Grossing Film Of 2000

How The Grinch Stole Christmas was the sixth highest grossing film of 2000 and the second highest grossing holiday film of all time behind Home Alone which was released in 1990. Both How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Home Alone were passed in this accolade in 2018 when the CGI version of The Grinch was released.

5. It Won The Academy Award For Best Makeup

How The Grinch Stole Christmas won the Academy Award For Best Makeup and was nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

6. The Grinch Was Almost Jack Nicholson

Before Jim Carrey was chosen to play the Grinch, Jack Nicholson, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Tim Curry and Eddie Murphy were all considered for the role.

7. Cindy Lou Was Originally 2 Years Old

In this adaptation of the Grinch, Cindy Lou Who is six years old whereas in the book from 1957 and the 1966 TV Christmas special she has no more than two. However a two year old would not be able to achieve many of the things Cindy Lou Who did even in Whoville.

8. Directors Had To Tender To Make How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Dr. Seuss had refused offers to sell the film rights to his books before his death in 1991. After he died, Audrey Geisel, who was his widow, agreed to allow merchandising deals including clothing lines and accessories. Audrey Geisel announced via her agent in 1998 that she would auction the film rights of How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

9. There Was A Strict Criteria For Bidding Directors

In order to pitch their ideas to Audrey Geisel, candidates had to be willing to pay US$5 million for the material and handover 4% of the box office figures, 50% of the merchandising and music material and 70% of any income from book tie-ins. 

Geisel also stated in her letter that any actors admitted for the role of the Grinch must be comparable to the stature of Jack Nicholson, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman! 

It was stipulated that the estate would not consider a director or writer who had not earned at least US$1 million on a previous picture.

10. 20th Century Fox Pitched Jack Nicholson But Lost The Auction

20th Century Fox pitched its version with the director Tom Shadyac and with Jack Nicholson in mind to play the Grinch.

11. John Hughes Also Pitched For How The Grinch Stole Christmas

The Farrelly Brothers and John Hughes pitched their own versions too. Universal Pictures pitched with Brian Grazer and Gary Ross in attendance but all of these offers were refused.

12. Ron Howard Was Chosen Due To His Ideas For Expansion

Brian Grazer enlisted the help of his partner Ron Howard to help with the pitch meeting. It was while studying the original book, Ron Howard became interested in the character Cindy Lou Who and pitched a film in which she would have a much larger role as well as a materialistic representation of the house and an expanded backstory of the Grinch.

It was announced on the 16th of September 1998 that Ron Howard would direct and co-produce a live action adaptation of How The Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey attached as the lead.

13. Universal Paid US$9 Million For The Grinch

Universal Pictures had acquired the distribution rights and paid US$9 million for the film rights for an adaptation of How The Grinch Stole Christmas and All, The Places You’ll Go!

14. Tim Burton Was Considered To Direct

Before Ron Howard signed on to direct Tim Burton was actually considered to be the director of How The Grinch Stole Christmas but turned it down due to a scheduling conflict with his film Sleepy Hollow.

15. Who Framed Roger Rabbit Writes Wrote The Screenplay

Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman Wrote the final screenplay after eight drafts. They had previously worked on Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988 and Doc Hollywood in 1991.

Seinfeld writers Alec Burke, David Mandal, and Jeff Schaffer did an uncredited rewrite of the How The Grinch Stole Christmas script.

16. Audrey Geisel Had Veto Powers

Audrey Geisel also had the power to veto the script. She did object to several jokes which included sexual innuendo including one about a family who didn’t have a Christmas tree or presents called The Who-Steins and the Grinch having a stuffed trophy of The Cat In The Hat on his wall.

17. Whoville Was Behind The Bates Motel Set From Psycho

How The Grinch Stole Christmas was filmed between September 1999 and January 2000 with Audrey Geisel visiting the set in October 1999.

Most of the Whoville set Was constructed on the Backlot of Universal Studios behind the Bates Motel set from Psycho.

18. The Grinch Makeup Took 2 1/2 Hours To Apply

Rick Baker was hired to design and create Jim Carrey’s prosthetic makeup. It took several tests and pitches for Jim Carrey to decide on his makeup but he went with Rick Baker’s original design.

The Grinch makeup took 2 1/2 hours to apply each time and on one occasion Jim Carrey was so frustrated that he kicked a hole in the wall of his trailer! 

19. Jim Carrey’s Attitude Led The Makeup Artist To Leave

According to an interview with Jim Carrey’s make-up artist Kazu Hiro, Carrey was mean to everybody on set. After two weeks the team could only finish three days worth of the shooting schedule because Carrey would suddenly disappear and come back when everything was taken down. This work ethic led to Kazu leaving the production but Ron Howard and Rick Baker convinced him to return to the role after Jim Carrey agreed to keep his anger in check.

20. The Grinch Suit Was Covered In Yak Hair

The iconic green Grinch suit was covered in yak hair dyed green and sewn onto spandex.

21. 8 Year Old Josh Ryan Evans Wore The Same Makeup As Carrey

Josh Ryan Evans played the eight year old Grinch and wore the same style of makeup and bodysuit that Jim Carrey wore. Josh Ryan Evans sadly passed away in 2002 at the age of 20. 

22. Carrey Spent 92 Days As The Grinch

Jim Carrey spent a total of 92 days in the Grinch makeup!

23. Paramount And Universal Teamed Up To Promote The Grinch

To promote How The Grinch Stole Christmas in cinemas during summer of 2000, it was linked up to screenings of Mission: Impossible II. Paramount Pictures agreed to screen the trailer if Universal included a trailer to their film in front of Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.

A trailer also debuted alongside Meet The Parents in October 2000.

24. Toys “R” US Transformed Their Stores Into Whoville

To help promote the film How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Toys “R” Us transformed their locations into Whobilation Headquarters with standout visual merchandising. The Herald Square location in New York City featured a floor-to-ceiling window graphic of the main characters and entrances featured 8 foot 3-D characters across numerous stores.

25. How The Grinch Stole Christmas Had Many Advertising Partners

Wendy’s began selling themed children’s meal toys at the restaurants ahead of the release of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Other promotional partners included Kellogg’s, Hershey’s, Visa, Coca-Cola and the United States Postal Service, who allowed mail to be postmarked with “Happy Who-lidays”.

To also coincide with the release of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universals Islands of Adventure hosted a holiday event called Grinchmas.

16. The Grinch Was The Second Biggest Selling Home Video Release Of 2001

The DVD and VHS version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas was released on the 20th of November 2001. Within its first week of release it had sold a combined 8.5 million units; 3 million DVD copies and 4 million VHS copies. This made it the best selling holiday home video title at the time. 

How The Grinch Stole Christmas then joined Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace, The Mummy Returns and Shrek as one of the only four films to sell more than 2 million DVD copies during their opening weeks. It was also ranked as the second highest opening week home video sale for any live action film just after Titanic. 

In December 200,1 it was reported by Variety, that the Grinch was the second biggest selling home video release of 2001 selling 16.9 million copies and earning US$296 million in sales.

17. How The Grinch Stole Christmas Sold Over 48.1 Million Cinema Tickets

Box Office Mojo estimates that How The Grinch Stole Christmas sold over 48.1 million cinema tickets in North America.

18. Jim Carrey Makes Fun Of Ron Howard In The Film

Film fans may have noticed that in the scene where the Grinch is directing his dog, Jim Carrey is making fun of producer and director Ron Howard by imitating his style of directing. Ron Howard found the scene really funny and decided to keep it in the final cut of the film.

19. Jim Carrey Had CIA Torture Training Because Of His Makeup

Jim Carrey revealed in an interview on The Graham Norton show in the UK that he felt so uncomfortable in the latex Grinch costume that he actually sought counselling from a CIA agent who taught him torture resistant techniques! He also discussed in the same interview that one of the things that helped keep him still in the makeup chair for hours on end was listening to The Bee Gees back catalogue. 

20. Many Of The Grinch’s Lines Were Improvised

One of Jim Carrey’s improvised lines is, “6:30 pm. Dinner with me. I can’t cancel that again.”

21. Did You Notice The Green Eggs And Ham?

In the final scene of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, character Cindy Lou Who passes Max the dog a plate of Green Eggs and Ham which is in reference to Dr. Seuss’ book published in August 1960.

22. Max Was Meant To Be A CGI Dog

Max was originally going to be a CGI dog! Instead Max was played by a female dog called Kelley.

23. Jim Carrey Used To Prank Tourists On Set

During breaks in filming How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Jim Carrey surprised and scared tourists visiting the Universal Backlot Tour by running out of the hotel wearing a dress and brandishing a knife!

24. Anthony Hopkins Recorded His Lines In A Day

It took Sir Anthony Hopkins just one day to record all of the narration for How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

25. The Crockery Was Meant To Fall Off The Table

In the scene where the Grinch pulls the sheet off the table, all of the silverware and crockery was scripted to fall off. However Jim Carrey pulled the sheet off so well none of the items fell to the floor so he improvised and went back to the table and pushed them all off.

26. Ron Howard Once Directed Wearing The Grinch Costumer

Director Ron Howard has revealed in interviews that as a way of saying thank you to Jim Carrey for putting up with the many hours of makeup application during filming, he directed one day with the suit on. When Jim Carrey saw Ron Howard in the full Grinch outfit he didn’t recognise him and believed it was a stunt double who looked nothing like him!

27. The Grinch’s Yellow Eyes Were Sometimes Edited In

Jim Carrey found the Grinch's yellow contact lenses to be so uncomfortable when filming that he wasn’t able to wear them all the time. This led to some of the shots of his eyes being coloured in post production.

28. The Grinch Isn’t Actually Green

In the original Dr. Seuss book, the Grinch wasn’t actually green. He was instead black and white with some red and pink splotches. Ron Howard wanted the film adaptation to be similar to the 1966 television special.

29. The Grinch Has A Wizard Of Oz Connection

It is rumoured that How The Grinch Stole Christmas is the only film to feature such a large number of characters in heavy makeup and costumes since the Wizard of Oz released in 1939.

30. Audrey Geisel Had To Approve Jim Carrey As The Grinch

Audrey Geisel visited Jim Carrey on the set of Man On The Moon which he was filming in 1999 to see if he was right to play the Grinch. At that time he was so deep in the character of Andy Kaufman that he had to do an impression of himself doing an impression of the Grinch for her. It must have been good because he got the lead role!

31. 250 Pieces Of Knitwear Were Made For How The Grinch Stole Christmas

250 pieces of original knitwear were created for How The Grinch Stole Christmas by a Los Angeles-based sweater designer named Suss Cousins. This included eight identical red striped jumpers for Jim Carrey. All 250 pieces were handknitted and completed in just four months!

32. It Was The Largest Set At Universal Studios

At the time of filming, How The Grinch Stole Christmas was the largest set at Universal Studios.

33. The Grinch’s Accent Is Based On Sean Connery

Jim Carrey based the Grinch’s accent on Sean Connery’s voice. It’s also said that he accepted the role in the film after he heard a taping of a children’s choir singing this song, “You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch”.

34. Ron Howard’s Initials Appear In The Whoville Clouds

Eagle eyed viewers may have noticed that in several scenes the initials C.H.and J.C. and R.H. Briefly appear in the clouds. These initials stand for Clint Howard, Jim Carrey and Ron Howard.

35. Jeremy Howard Shaved His Eyebrows

Jeremy Howard, who played Drew Lou Who, shaved off his eyebrows for the duration of filming to help lower the time he spent in make-up.

36. The Grinch Was Made To Look Like Bigfoot

The photo of the Grinch in the Whoville newspaper is taken in the same pose that the infamous Bigfoot was seen in during the Patterson Gimlin movie. Elf in 2003 also mimics this pose when Buddy the elf can be seen walking through Central Park near the end of the film.

37. Some Whos Are From Cirque du Soleil 

Performers from Cirque du Soleil were used for some of the acrobatic stunts in How The Grinch Stole Christmas. You can see them at the beginning of the film as some of the Whos during the parade.

38. The Grinch Originally Hated Gluttony And Noise At Christmas

In the original adaptation of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, his main dislike of the Christmas season is that everything is loud and there is extreme gluttony however an extensive backstory was created as to why the Grinch hates Christmas by Ron Howard.

39. There Is A Horton Hears A Who Reference

There is another Dr. Seuss reference in the scene where the Grinch leaves Whoville for the second time. The camera pans up and a statue of an elephant can be seen referencing Horton Hears A Who. Jim Carrey actually voiced Horton in the film adaptation in 2008.

There is also a reference to Dr. Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat where the Grinch is sucking up all of the presents at Cindy Lou Who’s house and there is a goldfish in a bowl. 

40. The Grinch Grin Is Not CGI

Jim Carrey contorts his face into the Grinch's signature smile despite many people believing his green is created by prosthetics.

During the opening shot sequence, there are 40,000 CGI trees.

41. Over 300 Props Were Created For The Grinch Set

Approximately 8000 makeup appliances including brushes and sponges were used in How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Also over 300 props were created and over 8000 ornaments were used on set. It is also reported that 1938 candy canes were used during production. 443 outfits were created by the wardrobe department and 2 million linear feet of Styrofoam was used to build the sets. 

42. Ron Howard’s Family Stars In How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Ron Howard’s family make appearances throughout How The Grinch Stole Christmas including his father Rance who was the elderly timekeeper shouting, “Put him in the chair of cheer!” Ron Howard’s daughter Jocelyn is the redheaded Who after the Grinch turns the lights in Whoville back on. Ron Howard’s wife Cheryl is holding hands with the elder Who when all of the Whos gather around the Christmas tree. His brother Clint plays Whobris, the mayor‘s assistant.

43. This Was The Final Film Of Donald Peterman

The cinematographer for How The Grinch Stole Christmas was Donald Peterman and this production was his final film before his death in 2011. He was unable to continue working after injury sustained in an accident on the set of Mighty Joe Young in 1998.

44. There Is A Swingers Joke!

An adult joke can be seen when Cindy Lou Who is discussing how the aunts got the Grinch at one of their parties. You can see through the window that there is some adult activity going on and the Aunts put keys into a glass jar. This is a nod to a swingers party!

45. There Is 43 Minutes Of CGI

There are approximately 600 visual effects used in How The Grinch Stole Christmas which totals 43 minutes of screen time.

46. Cindy Lou Who Wears Real Egg Nog

Hilariously, in the scene in which Cindy Lou Who nominates the Grinch, she is wearing an actual eggnog on her head. If you look closely enough you can actually see that she spills some of it in shot.

47. Ron Howard Dedicated It To His Mother

Ron Howard dedicated How The Grinch Stole Christmas to Jean Speegle Howard, his mother.

48. Mariah Carey Was Originally Meant To Sing The Credits Song

The song which plays over the Grinch credits is called “Where are you Christmas?”, and it was written by Mariah Carey and performed by Faith Hill. Mariah Carey was initially set to release her recording of the song but due to a legal dispute between her and her ex-husband, she was unable to do so. Faith Hill was then bought to re-record the song but Mariah Carey still retained the songwriting credit.

49. The Map Of Whoville And Mount Crumpit Is The Original

The map of Whoville and Mount Crumpit, which can be seen when Cindy Lou Who goes to visit the aunts Clarnella and Rose, is taken from the original book by Dr. Seuss.

50. There Are Medieval, Moroccan, and Islamic References

According to the designers on How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Medieval, Moroccan, and Islamic influences were used as architectural references in the books.

51. Whoville Is Based On Easthampton, Massachusetts

Mount Crumpit and Whoville are based on two real life locations just north of Springfield Massachusetts which is Dr. Seuss’ hometown. Mount Crumpit is based on Mount Tom which is a 1202 foot peak overlooking the town of Easthampton. Easthampton is said to be the basis for Whoville. Mount Crumpit is said to be 3000 feet high.

52. Jim Carrey Is Younger Than Those Playing His Classmates

Jim Carrey is considerably younger than the other actors playing his former classmates in How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Jeffrey Tambor, who plays Mayor Augustus May Who, is 18 years older than him and Christine Baranski, who plays Martha May Whovier, is 10 years older.

53. “Grinch” Is Said 67 Times

In How The Grinch Stole Christmas, the word Grinch is said 67 times. The words Grinch and Christmas are spoken by every major character in the film.

54. The Grinch And Sherman Klump Have A Photo

Eddie Murphy visited the How The Grinch Stole Christmas set in full makeup and costume as Sherman Klump from Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. This led to a photo being taken with Jim Carrey in full Grinch makeup and costume with Eddie Murphy in his full make up and costume. Rick Baker worked on both of these films for both actors as the make-up artist.

55. The First VHS Tapes Were PG-13

On the original 2001 VHS release of How The Grinch Stole Christmas the film was originally stated to be rated PG-13 by the MPAA. However this was dropped from the DVD releases after the MPAA confirmed the film to be rated PG.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Facts - 55 How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) Facts You Never Knew Before

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