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8-Bit Christmas - What We Know So Far

Every generation has its own classic holiday movies, and Hollywood clearly has no shortage of ideas when it comes to streaming-only Christmas features, in particular. From Disney+'s "Home Sweet Home Alone," a new installment in the beloved '90s holiday franchise, to distinctly modern stories about dating in a contemporary Christmas landscape such as Netflix's "Love Hard," there are plenty of festive movies to keep us occupied during the 2021 holiday season. However, one of the most exciting of the bunch is "8-Bit Christmas," which recently released a brand new trailer (via YouTube) and is aiming to hit HBO Max very soon.

With the release of the Warner Bros. movie right around the corner, there is still plenty of information that fans are dying to know. With this in mind, it's time to dig into some of the most important details, including the release date, casting information, and plot.

What is the release date of 8-Bit Christmas?

Luckily, it looks like audiences will not have to wait very long for the film to debut. According to the "8-Bit Christmas" trailer, the holiday movie will be released on Wednesday, November 24, the day before Thanksgiving. This will almost certainly position the film well, as it premieres when people are leaving work and school for their holiday break and will likely be looking for something to watch as they gather with their families. Additionally, unlike other Warner Bros. offerings heading to HBO Max and theaters simultaneously in 2021, "8-Bit Christmas" is a streaming exclusive and will only be available on that platform.

There's also a notable (albeit implicit) irony to the "8-Bit Christmas" release date. The film clearly seems to center around themes of materialism and gift-giving at the holidays and features sequences of shoppers terrorizing one another at a mall to get their hands on a Nintendo. As such, it's hard to ignore that this movie is landing just two days before Black Friday, which means the timing will likely play well into the film's overall messaging.

Who is in the cast of 8-Bit Christmas?

For the lead role of Jake Doyle, "8-Bit Christmas" has cast two actors to portray the character at different stages of his life. In March, The Hollywood Reporter announced Neil Patrick Harris would play an adult Jake as he reflects on his childhood, while relative newcomer Winslow Fegley ("Come Play") would portray him as a youngster in the 1980s. Per the movie's IMDb profile, the film's younger ensemble will also include Cyrus Arnold ("Zoolander 2"), Santino Barnard ("Penny Dreadful"), and Jacob Laval ("The Plot Against America").

In addition to Jake Doyle and his ensemble of friends, "8-Bit Christmas" has enlisted some comedic powerhouses to fill out its ranks. Specifically, June Diane Raphael and Steve Zahn as Jake's mother and father, respectively. Raphael is known for her work in films such as "Long Shot" and "The Disaster Artist," as well as TV shows including "New Girl," and voiceover performances on series such as "BoJack Horseman" and "Big Mouth" (via IMDb). Meanwhile, Zahn is known for his work in films including "That Thing You Do" and "War For The Planet of the Apes," as well as the recent hit HBO series "The White Lotus" (via IMDb).

What is the plot of 8-Bit Christmas?

Based on a novel of the same name penned by Kevin Jakubowski (via Goodreads), "8-Bit Christmas" tells a story that will feel relatable for both kids and adults. The Warner Bros. film centers its story on Jake Doyle (Neil Patrick Harris) as he recounts a Christmas story of his childhood to his young daughter. The story? Young Jake's (Winslow Fegley) quest to get his hands on the now legendary Nintendo Entertainment System — the must-have toy of the late 1980s holiday season. As teased in the movie's trailer, "8-Bit Christmas" depicts not only the mad dash of the town's kids to get an NES but also the ever-increasing fervor from the parents who want to blame societal ills on video games.

On its face, "8-Bit Christmas" clearly appears to be positioning itself as moderately edgy yet family-friendly fare for the holiday season. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the way the film seems to draw inspiration from "A Christmas Story" in its depiction of Jake's effort to get a Nintendo (which seems to stand in for the now-iconic Red Ryder BB gun), a system that really did stir up a frenzy and remains one of the best-selling consoles of all time (via CNET). However, despite its influences, "8-Bit Christmas" also seems to be carving out its very own niche by tapping into 1980s nostalgia and skewering the pop culture of the era.