Christmas Vibes

Small Budget Christmas Films That Surprised Us All

We all have favourite Christmas films that we tend to return to year after year. They fill us with a sense of nostalgia that you just can’t get anywhere else. These films are able to invoke the Christmas spirit in us without fail, so it may surprise you to learn that some of your fave flicks didn’t actually have a lot of money behind them to begin with. We’re delving into the top films that started with a small budget and went on to surprise us all by making tonnes of money, or just by being well-loved.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – $630,000

Miracle On 34th Street is a well-loved film, with the storytelling of festive competition between department stores and Kris Kringle’s belief that he is Father Christmas. The film had a limited budget of just $630,000 but went on to make $2,700,000, which at the time made it incredibly successful. The portrayal of Father Christmas in the film by Edmund Gwenn was so convincing that young co-star Natalie Wood later admitted she actually believed he was the real deal!


Gremlins (1984) – $11,000,000

Who doesn’t love Gremlins? There’s something about those creepy mogwai that is just so funny, while still being delightfully dark and scary. The original script was meant to be just a writing sample and was never seriously considered as a script by writer Chris Colombus until it fell into the hands of Steven Spielberg. Spielberg saw the potential and after some edits, such as removing scenes where the Gremlins eat Billy’s dog (!), the movie began production on an incredibly small budget of $11,000,000. It went on to make $153,083,102, which we think makes it pretty successful!


In Bruges (2008) – $15,000,000

If you’ve not watched this British black comedy yet then you really need to. Starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two Irish hit-men sent to hide in the ‘fairy-tale’ city of Bruges, the film gained cult status as a result of its clever dialogue and darkly funny scenes. Though not a typically Christmassy film, the wintry and beautiful city makes it a favourite of many during the festive season. Beginning with a budget of just $15,000,000 the film went on to make $25,593,616 and gained most of its popularity via DVD viewings years after it was released.


Read more: Top 10 Christmas Films That Didn’t Start Out Being Festive

While You Were Sleeping (1995) – $17,000,000

This feel-good Christmas movie has already made an appearance in another of our Christmas movie articles, which is a testament to how well loved it is. Featuring Sandra Bullock in the leading role, the film follows a Chicago train ticket clerk who rescues the man she has a crush from death. After he falls into a coma she gets mistaken for his fiancee, and hilarity ensues. There’s obviously a lot more to it than that, but we don’t want to give away any spoilers! Starting with a budget of just $17,000,000 the film made massive box office returns of $182,057,016 worldwide and to this day is  still one of Bullock’s highest grossing films.


Read more: What Are The Best Christmas Presents For These TV Characters?

Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992) – $20,000,000

Last but not least is the sequel to one of the most famous Christmas films ever; Home Alone. Starring Macauley Culkin as the lead once again, this time Kevin is lost in New York on his own and decides to make the most of it. Living out every kid’s dream by staying in the best suites in the best hotel in the city, dining exclusively on cake and chocolate and spending all day in toy stores, there’s plenty of reasons why this is a family favourite around Christmas time!


With a relatively small budget of just $20,000,000, the film went on to make $3,958,994,850, perhaps owing to the success of the original movie. However many people claim that the sequel is better than the original . . . you’ll have to watch them both to see!

Which of these small budget Christmas films is on your must-watch list?