“Home Alone” first hit viewers’ screens in 1990 instantly becoming a hit. Over the years, it has spawned five sequels, each trying to outdo the original, but the box office numbers don’t lie.
Kevin McCallister, played by Macaulay Culkin became everyone’s most beloved kid in the nineties when he graced the TV screens on the first release of the comedy series, “Home Alone.”
Since then, several kids have assumed the character of the young boy left home alone in the movie’s sequel or reboot. However, the young Macaulay remains the face of the franchise despite the somewhat similar premise.
“Home Alone” centers on the adventures of a child left at home without parental supervision while burglars try to break in. His attempts to defend his family’s home from the said burglars by booby-trapping set the comedic tone for the holiday drama.
In the first production, Macaulay’s Kevin discovered his family’s disappearance was not as fun as he’d thought. To make it worse, he had to face off against the Wet Bandits, Marv, and Harry who tried to break into the supposedly empty apartment.
Other movies in the “Home Alone” franchise have strived to maintain this premise, albeit introducing new storylines and cast members.
While some have lived up to expectations, some have woefully fallen short, if their grossing in the box office were anything to go by. But there’s no denying the humor-packed result of watching a kid spend Christmas fending off robbers.
Little wonder every “Home Alone” film, irrespective of its ratings, has remained solid in viewers’ hearts and across generations over three decades later.
1. “Home Alone” 1990
The first movie ever released in the franchise simply titled “Home Alone” remains the highest-grossing in the franchise. Released in 1990, the movie which saw Macaulay Culkin play Kevin took the world by a storm, skyrocketing the youngster to superstardom.
It followed McCalister, a mischievous, innovative kid whose sole wish was for his large family to disappear and leave him alone. His wish came true when they accidentally left him behind and proceeded for a Christmas vacation.
However, he soon discovered nothing could compare to family no matter how annoying they seem. Apparently, it took facing off with burglars Marv and Harry for him to realize that.
Grossing $476.7 million globally, it became a pop culture phenomenon. It stood at first place in the domestic theatrical gross earned by a family hit for 27 years until the Chinese picture, “Never Say Die,” took over in 2017.
2. “Home Alone: Lost In New York” 1992
Two years after the holiday movie stormed the world, Hughes Entertainment released a sequel that managed to outshine its original.
The 1992 release, “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York,” featured Macaulay again as Kevin. This time, the youngster accidentally boarded the wrong flight and ended up in New York while his family journeyed to Miami to spend Christmas.
When reality hit him, the mischievous youngster decided to make the most of his vacation. Luckily, he had his dad’s credit card to facilitate his excesses at a lavish hotel.
Somehow, the overzealousness of a scary-faced hotel employee drove the kid into the streets. He was once again confronted by his nemesis, Marv and Harry, who recently escaped from prison.
The duo saw their opportunity to take revenge on the mischievous kid, forcing him to set traps again to defend himself. We all had our happy endings. Well, except for the Wet bandits and perhaps Kevin’s dad after the bills came in.
The movie grossed $359 million in the global box office, almost catching up to the original’s initial success. Not bad for a sequel.
3. “Home Alone III” 1997
In 1997, a reboot titled “Home Alone 3” hit the screens, introducing the world to young Alex D. Lindz. It centered around the youngster who ended up stuck at home due to his chickenpox.
A neighbor gifted the boy a toy RC as a reward for shoveling snow. Unbeknownst to them, the gift happened to be the wrong package following a mixup at the airport. In the end, the young lad ended up in possession of a computer chip from a North Korean terrorist.
The villains tracked the device to the little boy. When his attempt to alert the authorities of the planned invasion failed, Alex knew he had to defend his home and the potentially dangerous microchip at all cost.
Over the years, many have regarded this as the most outrageous storyline so far, but it did rack up to $30.6 million both globally and internationally.
4. “Home Alone: The Holiday Heist” 2012
Following a 10-year hiatus, another movie from the franchise hit the TV screen, introducing a new cast, characters, and storyline. It followed a young lad, Finn who moved into a seemingly haunted home with his parents and elder sister.
He soon discovered the home was indeed haunted, not by ghosts, but by two burglars hoping to steal an old painting.
When his sister ended up trapped in a hidden room after they were left home alone, the lad knew it fell on him to defend their home from the bandits and rescue his sister. This reboot, released 2012, grossed up to $901,898 million in-home video sales.
5. “Home Alone IV: Taking Back The House” 2002
Kevin McCalister returned once again on “Home Alone IV,” with Mike Weinberg taking Macaulay’s place. The 2002 production followed 9-year-old Kevin who decided to move in with his newly-separated dad and future step-mom Natalie in a smart house.
While in Natalie’s home, his old nemesis, Marv, and his wife Vera tried to invade the mansion. Once again, the youngster set traps to stop the criminal duo, leaving the property in a mess.
His dad saw this as the boy’s way of rebelling against his parent’s divorce but soon discovered his son was a hero. The twist exposed the ugly side of Kevin’s would-have-been stepmom, leading the McCalister couple back to each other’s arms.
The movie which hit the screens in 2002 was met with criticism and has widely been voted as a least favorite. Ultimately, it fell short of box office expectations unlike its predecessors but managed to deliver the humor-packed result all the same.
6. “Home Sweet Home Alone”
Another release from the “Home Alone” franchise that has faced negative reviews is “Home Sweet Home Alone,” which is the latest production. The new “Home Alone” movie, released in November 2021 deviated slightly from the usual ill-intentioned burglars vs mischievous kid plot.
This time, viewers got to sympathize with the supposedly villainous couple Pam and Jeff McKenzie as they faced off with Max Mercer. The duo who were on the verge of losing their home broke into Max’s home to steal back a valuable porcelain doll they believed the kid stole from them.
Neither expected the numerous booby traps they encountered in the process as Max believed their invasion a kidnapping attempt. Knowing the couple was not so bad after all kind of took the zeal to laugh from viewers.
Hence, there was little humor to be found in their torture except schadenfreude is your thing. Many have labeled the movie as a poor rip-off of a classic. Certainly not a good way to spend Christmas!