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Billy Bob Thornton on the Lasting Power of 'Bad Santa'

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Getty Images/Matt Winkelmeyer

For some families, nothing says the holidays like Bad Santa?

At EW PopFest in Los Angeles on Sunday, Billy Bob Thornton and the cast of Bad Santa 2 discussed the new movie (out Nov. 23) and the lasting power of the 2003 original.

“I think part of it was that there hadn’t been a movie that profane and unapologetic about itself. It sort of spawned a lot of imitators after that,” Thornton said of Bad Santa. “It kind of created a new sub-genre in the comedy world. After that they had Bad Neighbor and Bad Pastry Chef and everything else in the world.”

Thornton added that the film struck a chord with viewers who were maybe fed up with the commercial nature of the Christmas holiday.

“I think it’s the alternative to the real syrupy Christmas movies — I think people wanted that at the time and now, even more,” he said. “There was that spot missing. I have people come up to me all the time and say to me, Every year we watch Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Bad Santa. It’s become part of the box set.”

That extends to children too. As Thornton revealed on Sunday, kids as young as 9 years old have come up to him to talk about the movie.

“You let your kid watch that movie?” Thornton said. “I mean, I don’t need the nickel that bad. Keep the kid wrapped up for a while.”

Thornton and original costars Tony Cox and Brett Kelly return for the sequel — and Thornton said they’ve already discussed where things might go in a third film.

“We know one thing. If they ever do another one — of course we have to see how this one works out. We think we got real close on this one. We love it. But you don’t know. You never know if it’s going to do as well as the first one. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t,” Thornton said. “But in case there is another one at some point, Tony and I have already put in our request that it either be in Hawaii or Vegas.”

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