The Little-Known Connection Between 'Iron Man' And 'A Christmas Story'

In the spirit of Christmas, we're looking back at a little-known tie between Iron Man and cherished holiday movie classic A Christmas Story.

After years of outsourcing their famous comic book characters to studios like Sony, Fox and Universal, Marvel set out to make their own live-action movies based on lesser-known Marvel Comics properties like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America.

The freshly-launched Marvel Studios established the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2008's Iron Man, directed by Elf and Zathura helmer Jon Favreau.

Iron Man's producer credits included Marvel Studios' resident creative overseer, Kevin Feige, X-Men and Spider-Man producer Avi Arad, longtime Marvel Studios producers Victoria Alonso and Louis D'Esposito, and executive producer Peter Billingsley — best known for his role as four-eyed Ralphie Parker in 1983's A Christmas Story.

A frequent collaborator of Favreau's, Billingsley co-produced 2001's Made — Favreau's feature directing debut — before co-executive producing Favreau's Dinner for Five, for which Billingsley was nominated for an Emmy in 2001.

Billingsley appeared onscreen in Elf — a modern Christmas classic in its own right — as toymaker Ming Ming in 2003. Billingsley co-produced sci-fi space adventure Zathura in 2005 and appeared again onscreen alongside Favreau in 2006's The Break-Up (directed by Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp's Peyton Reed).

Iron Man followed in 2008, where Billingsley cameoed as William Ginter Riva, a scientist working beneath Tony Stark rival Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges).

Billingsley and Favreau would appear again as actors in Vince Vaughn-lead comedy Four Christmases, and Favreau would co-star in Billingsley's directorial debut, 2009 comedy Couples Retreat.

Marvel Studios' shared cinematic universe franchise has since gone on to become the highest-grossing franchise of all time, and the first franchise to cross $5 billion at the domestic box office.

Marvel will celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Iron Man in 2018 with the release of Avengers: Infinity War, assembling its major franchises — The Avengers, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy — for the first time.

A Christmas Story is arguably the most famous Christmas movie of all time, airing each holiday season as part of an annual 24-hour marathon on TBS.

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