Directed bySean Anders
Written by
Based onA Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
Produced by
CinematographyKramer Morgenthau
Edited byBrad Wilhite
Music by
Distributed byApple TV+
Release dates
  • November 11, 2022 (2022-11-11) (United States)
  • November 18, 2022 (2022-11-18) (Apple TV+)
Running time
127 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$75 million

Spirited is a 2022 American Christmas musical comedy film directed by Sean Anders, and written and produced by Anders and John Morris. It is a modern retelling of Charles Dickens's 1843 novella A Christmas Carol and a satire of the various adaptations since. The film stars Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, Octavia Spencer, Sunita Mani, Patrick Page, Marlow Barkley, and Tracy Morgan. In the film, The Ghost of Christmas Present is nearing retirement, which would mean a return to Earth. He sets his sights on an "unredeemable" man named Clint Briggs, who ends up helping the Ghost come to terms with his own past.

Spirited was released in select cinemas on November 11, 2022, before its streaming release on November 18, 2022, by Apple TV+.[1][2] The film received positive reviews from critics, who praised its original songs and the performances and chemistry of Ferrell and Reynolds,[3] but was criticized for its lack of improvement over previous adaptations of the novella.


For nearly two centuries, Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet-to-Come have led a team of afterlife spirits to find and redeem one human soul or "perp" every Christmas ("That Christmas Morning Feelin'"). Present has been eligible for "retirement" for decades but refuses to do so, despite being tempted by the promise of settling down and making up for his own failures in life ("Present's Lament").

Scoping for a new soul to redeem, the spirits encounter Clint Briggs, a renowned, controversial media consultant ("Bringin' Back Christmas"). Despite Marley's insistence that Briggs is "unredeemable", Present believes that Clint's redemption could have a "ripple" effect and make him a force for positive change in humanity. The Ghosts begin a year of research on Clint in preparation for the annual haunt. ("Ripple").

As Christmas approaches, the Ghosts visit Clint's headquarters, where they witness him encouraging his niece Wren, who is running for class president, to post an unflattering video of her opponent Joshua. Clint's Executive Vice President, Kimberly, who uncovered the video at Clint's instruction, is riddled with guilt and almost quits but ultimately decides against it ("The View from Here"). Matters are complicated when Kimberly is unexpectedly able to see Present, who finds himself attracted to her.

The haunt starts but quickly goes off the rails when Clint repeatedly interrupts Marley ("The Story of Your Life (Marley's Haunt)") and seduces the willing Past, forcing Present to step in early and take over. Clint is initially dismissive of Present and resists his memories, particularly those of his ex-girlfriend Nora, who broke up with him over his selfishness, and of his older sister Carrie, who has since died of cancer. Realizing that Clint's case will require an unconventional approach, Present takes them back into his own past and reveals that he was once Ebenezer Scrooge, the only other unredeemable soul to go through the program ("Good Afternoon"). Marley is furious and orders Present to "stick to the script".

Present brings Clint to Nora, happily celebrating Christmas with her husband and children, but Clint deduces that it is Present himself who longs for a happy family life with Kimberly ("The Story of Your Life (Clint's Pitch)"). Present dismisses this and instead shows him Joshua's horrified reaction to Wren's re-posting of his video. Present then finally gets Clint to relive his most painful memory: Carrie's deathbed request that he raise Wren, which he had refused and passed off to their younger brother Owen.

As Present prepares to leave Clint with Yet-To-Come, Clint forces him to confront his own fears about whether he was truly redeemed, as Scrooge had died only three weeks after encountering the Ghosts. Clint convinces him to take retirement and give life on Earth another try ("Unredeemable"). Soon after, the two wake up in Clint's apartment, and Present, now mortal, asks Kimberly on a date ("The View from Here (Riverwalk)"). Clint is then intercepted by Yet-to-Come and shown glimpses of the future, including Joshua's suicide after Wren's video destroys his reputation.

Back on Earth, a shaken Clint races to stop Wren from posting the video. Just as he catches up to her, Kimberly stops him and reveals that she convinced Wren not to do it, then quits her job. Present is jubilant and waits for Clint to receive his congratulations from the spirit crew but is confused when they fail to arrive.

Clint explains that he only rectified one mistake and has not changed but tells Present that life is still worth trying and offers his friendship. A despondent Present, convinced he is unredeemable, jumps in front of an oncoming bus to return to his job in the afterlife. Clint shoves him out of the way, and just before the bus hits, time freezes, and the spirits arrive to congratulate Clint for achieving his redemption ("Do a Little Good"). However, when time resumes, the bus hits Clint, killing him. Carrie arrives to lead Clint into the afterlife, and while he is overjoyed to see his sister again, he is reluctant to leave Present behind. Instead, he makes a proposal to Marley.

Several years later, Clint has assumed the role of the Ghost of Christmas Present and is in a relationship with Past. He has expanded the program to include other holidays so the team can take on more perps every year and has brought Carrie on board as part of the staff. Clint also regularly visits Present, now married to Kimberly and the father of their two children, and the friends continue to work together redeeming souls. Wren has grown up and has been accepted into a master's program at Stanford ("That Christmas Morning Feelin' (Curtain Call)").

In a post-credit scene, the hotel manager from the Christmas tree convention is revealed to be the next "perp" chosen for redemption.



On September 20, 2019, it was announced that Daddy's Home's Sean Anders and John Morris were attached to write and direct the film, as well as produce under their production company Two Grown Men alongside Will Ferrell and Jessica Elbaum of Gloria Sanchez Productions and Ryan Reynolds and George Dewey of Maximum Effort.[4] The following month, it was announced that Apple had won a competitive bidding war for the rights to the film.[5] Also it was reported that more than $60 million was spent on talent for the film,[6] which was later increased to $75 million.[7]

Alongside the initial announcement, Ferrell and Reynolds were cast in main roles.[4] Both actors earned $20 million for their parts in the film.[8] On February 8, 2021, Octavia Spencer joined the cast, with Reynolds confirmed as the lead and Ferrell playing the role of the Ghost of Christmas Present.[7] In June, Sunita Mani was cast as Ghost of Christmas Past.[9]

Principal photography for the film began on July 6, 2021, in Boston, which stood in for Manhattan.[10] On October 18, 2021, Reynolds announced that filming had wrapped.[11]

Musical numbers

Main article: Spirited (soundtrack)

No. Title Performer(s) Runtime
1 "That Christmas Morning Feelin'" Will Ferrell, Patrick Page, Sunita Mani, Tracy Morgan and Ensemble 3:02
2 "Present's Lament" Ferrell 2:02
3 "Bringin' Back Christmas" Ryan Reynolds and Ensemble 3:53
4 "Ripple" Ferrell, Mani, Morgan, Page, and Ensemble 4:08[a]
5 "The View from Here" Octavia Spencer and Ferrell 3:06
6 "The Story of Your Life (Marley's Haunt)" Page and Reynolds 1:50
7 "Good Afternoon" Reynolds, Ferrell and Ensemble 4:27
8 "The Story of Your Life (Clint's Pitch)" Reynolds and Ferrell 1:41
9 "Unredeemable" Ferrell and Ensemble 3:31
10 "The View From Here (Riverwalk)" Spencer and Ferrell 3:01
11 "Do a Little Good" Reynolds, Ferrell, Page, Mani, Morgan, and Ensemble 3:41
12 "That Christmas Morning Feelin' (Curtain Call)" Ferrell, Reynolds, Spencer, Morgan, Page, Andrea Anders, Marlow Barkley, Jen Tullock and Ensemble 2:28


Spirited had a limited theatrical release on November 11, 2022, followed by its digital release on Apple TV+ one week later, on November 18.[2] A sing-along version was released theatrically on December 9, 2022. According to a Samba TV research panel of 3.1 million smart television households who tuned in for at least one minute, Spirited drew in 228,500 viewers in its first two days.[12]


A 12-inch vinyl single featuring songs from Spirited was announced for Record Store Day's annual Black Friday event in 2022. It featured the song "That Christmas Mornin' Feeling" sung by Ferrell as the A-side and "Do a Little Good" sung by Ferrell and Reynolds as the B-side.[13]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 71% of 115 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.40/10. The website's consensus reads: "Although it adds little to the long tradition of Dickens adaptations, Spirited is so genially overstuffed that it's easy to at least intermittently enjoy."[14] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 55 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[15]

Writing for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Rob Owen found the film was perhaps too long with too much happening, commenting: "If you're re-telling the umpteenth version of the same story, it shouldn't take more than two hours to do it regardless of the detours and small surprises plotted."[16]

See also


  1. ^ Only a brief portion of the song was performed in the main film; the rest of the production number was cut from the film's storyline, but the sequence is included in full during the closing credits.


  1. ^ Grobar, Matt (March 8, 2022). "Apple Sets Premiere Dates For Cha Cha Real Smooth & Skydance's Luck; Unveils Images From Argylle, The Greatest Beer Run Ever & More". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Goldsmith, Jill (September 23, 2022). "Apple's Movie Musical 'Spirited' With Will Ferrell And Ryan Reynolds Gets Theatrical, Streaming Release Dates". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  3. ^ Lewis, Hilary (December 5, 2022). "Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell on the Challenges of Singing and Dancing in 'Spirited': "Oh Boy, Now I Have to Put it All Together"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Parker, Ryan (September 20, 2019). "Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds to Star in Musical Reimagining of 'A Christmas Carol' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 9, 2021. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  5. ^ Kit, Borys (October 8, 2019). "Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds' 'A Christmas Carol' Musical Lands at Apple (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 9, 2021. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  6. ^ Donnelly, Matt (October 8, 2019). "Inside Apple's Ultra-Rich Deal for the Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell Musical 'A Christmas Carol'". Variety. Archived from the original on February 9, 2021. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (February 8, 2021). "Exclusive: Octavia Spencer in Talks to Join Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds in Apple's 'Spirited'". Collider. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  8. ^ Lang, Brent; Donnelly, Matt; Rubin, Rebecca (July 20, 2022). "Inside Movie Stars' Salaries: Joaquin Phoenix Nabs $20M for Joker 2, Tom Cruise Heads to Over $100M and More". Variety. Archived from the original on July 20, 2022. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (June 24, 2021). "'GLOW' Alum Sunita Mani Joins Apple's 'Christmas Carol' Musical 'Spirited' Starring Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on June 24, 2021. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  10. ^ Lovitt, Maggie (July 6, 2021). "First Image for Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell's 'Spirited' Features the Pair in a Close Stare Down". Collider. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  11. ^ Dela Paz, Maggie (October 18, 2021). "Ryan Reynolds Announces Sabbatical After Filming Wraps on Spirited". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  12. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 26, 2023). "Chris Evans & Ana de Armas Skydance Spy Action Pic Ghosted Most Watched Debut In Apple TV+ History". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 26, 2023.
  13. ^ Various Artists - Spirited (Soundtrack From The Original Apple Film)
  14. ^ "Spirited". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved January 3, 2023. Edit this at Wikidata
  15. ^ "Spirited". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  16. ^ Owen, Rob (November 17, 2022). "TV Talk: Pittsburghers compete on Best in Snow;' 'Christmas Story' sequel debuts on HBO Max". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Pittsburgh. Retrieved December 23, 2022.