The actor has been working on a follow-up to the 2003 movie, in which he stars as a conman who masquerades as a shopping mall Santa, since 2010, but the sequel plans suffered numerous delays due to script troubles.

"It's been very hard trying to get the script right," Thornton told Britain's The Observer newspaper in 2013. "We've been through three or four drafts but we're getting real close. Then there's the business dealings to sort out, all the stuff I don't understand. But one way or another, the sequel will happen and the idea is to shoot it next year. We know we'll never beat the first film, but we'll get as close as we can."

Now studio bosses at Miramax and Broad Green Pictures have finally given the green light for a storyline, with the film due to move into production in Montreal, Canada in January (16). Bad Santa 2 is expected to hit cinemas in time for next year's (16) festive season.

The original movie, directed by Terry Zwigoff, was made on a budget of $23 million (£14.38 million) and grossed over $76 million (£47.5 million) worldwide.

It's good news for Thornton, who is recovering after he was involved in a car collision in Los Angeles on Friday (30Oct15). The 60 year old, who was a passenger in one of the vehicles, was briefly hospitalised to treat head pain, but was later released and allowed to return to work.