Hallmark released two near-identical films this Christmas when no one was looking, and I have a few questions

Holiday Hallmark films are like their own cinematic universe at this point. They have cliché tropes, predictable endings, and plots that are often indistinguishable from one another. But that’s why we love them! We know what we’re getting into, which is especially comforting during the stress and chaos of the holiday season.

Well, a few days ago, Dan Harmon (creator of social communication And the Rick and Morty) posted a little discovery he made on Instagram: Hallmark has basically released the same movie… twice.

The films were concerned Sister Swap: Hometown Vacation And the Sister Swap: Christmas in the Townrespectively.

At first, he thought the films were part of a serial franchise, but when he dug a little deeper, he saw that they were launched in 2021.

Dan went on to explain that “the dialogue in each version is identical, but the scenes are cut differently because I just assume they have different editors.”

He then notes that “nothing in the description of the films” explains why these films are similar, and that “every film” [is] Honestly excited mostly because two real sisters are playing sisters.”

Hmm. Well, at this point, I immediately needed to find out more (and by “more,” I mean everything) about the production and distribution of this movie, but the facts seem to be few and far between.

I found out that both movies were released exactly one week apart during the Hallmark “Countdown to Christmas” lineup last year.

Both films were written and directed by the same people, and have a nearly identical cast, including real-life sisters Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Ashley Williams.


and that the films had the same editor, Kristi Schmick.

Since this has been a mystery that has haunted me for years, I went back to Dan Harmon’s post to see if anyone else knew more than I did, and that’s when I saw it: Kimberly Williams-Paisley, one of the Mutual Sisters herself, commented on the post.

She said, “We wanted to do something that was outside the box for the genre but also stay in the genre, and my sister came up with this great idea of ​​two films that would be set in the same time frame and sometimes overlap, and it took us years to figure out the mystery, and then, finally let Hallmark do it.” with that.”

what?! The answer was both very simple and very complex. But I felt relieved nonetheless.

But I still want to know more. And when I finally went to see the two movies on Hallmark’s streaming service, Hallmark Movies Now, I found a feature called “Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday: On Location.” I have never clicked anything so fast in my life.

There were the sisters, giving me all the detail I’ve been craving:

Kimberly Williams-Paisley explained that she stars in one movie, her sister stars in the other, and then they “go into each other’s movies.”

In fact, the movies are completely different from each other and only overlap a few times because each movie follows a different sister. And when you overlap, the editor chooses different shots or shots, so watching the same (or very similar) scenes never feels old again.

This idea is kind of groundbreaking, tbh. And I’m surprised Hallmark didn’t make a bigger deal than this whole concept.

In Dan Harmon’s post, he says that we, as a society, “don’t do that [normally] Turn to Hallmark to try out, “but honestly, maybe we should. The movie industry is changing, and if that’s the future, sign me up!”

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