By most metrics, Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women is a hit. Released on Christmas Day, the movie is already raking in millions, earning plaudit after plaudit, and ranking in each day’s top five movies by box-office takings. But by one metric at least, Gerwig’s film has a ways to go if it hopes to outpace Gillian Armstrong’s Little Women movie, released on Christmas Day 1994.
By this time in 1994, Armstrong’s film had recouped nearly 60% of its $18 million budget via domestic sales, and ranked first or second by takings each day, according to Box Office Mojo. Gerwig’s version has so far banked nearly $24 million—a little under half of its $50 million budget—and ranked third or fourth by takings each day, behind Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, Jumanji: The Next Level, and Frozen II.
By the end of New Year’s Day 1995, Little Women had entirely made back its budget, and would eventually go on to make near $50 million. If Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is to be as successful, as quickly, relative to its cost, it will need to make more than $8 million a day for the next three days—more than it has on any day so far. The movie’s final box office takings would also need to hit $140 million, in the same league as the most recent Fantastic Beasts film.
When it comes to critical acclaim, Gerwig’s movie is outperforming Armstrong’s—just barely. On Rotten Tomatoes, Gerwig’s Little Women has a 95% “fresh” rating, and a Metacritic score of 91. Armstrong’s has a 92% and an 87, respectively.
So far, the best indications that 2019’s Little Women is earning its keep are the dozens of award nominations (and wins) the film has already accrued. With three Oscar nominations, Armstrong’s movie was no slouch—but it pales in comparison to the new Little Women’s many gongs and nods.