Home Alone (franchise)

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Home Alone (franchise)
HomeAloneCollectionDVD.jpg
2009 DVD box set of first four films
Directed by Chris Columbus
(Home Alone 1 & 2)
Raja Gosnell
(Home Alone 3)
Rod Daniel
(Home Alone 4)
Peter Hewitt
(Home Alone 5)
Produced by John Hughes
Written by John Hughes
(Home Alone 1, 2 & 3)
Mitch Engel
(Home Alone 4)
Aaron Ginsburg & Wade McIntyre
(Home Alone 5)
Starring Home Alone 1 & 2:
Macaulay Culkin
Joe Pesci
Daniel Stern
Catherine O'Hara
John Heard
Home Alone 3:
Alex D. Linz
Olek Krupa
Rya Kihlstedt
Lenny Von Dohlen
David Thornton
Home Alone 4:
Mike Weinberg
French Stewart
Missi Pyle
Home Alone 5:
Christian Martyn
Jodelle Ferland
Malcolm McDowell
Debi Mazar
Eddie Steeples
Music by John Williams
(Home Alone 1 & 2)
Nick Glennie-Smith
(Home Alone 3)
Teddy Castellucci
(Home Alone 4)
David Kitay
(Home Alone 5)
Production
company
Hughes Entertainment (Home Alone 1, 2 & 3)
Distributed by 20th Century Fox (1-3)
Walt Disney Television (4-5)
Release dates November 16, 1990 (1)
November 20, 1992 (2)
December 12, 1997 (3)
November 3, 2002 (4)
November 25, 2012 (5)
Running time 414 minutes (all 5 films)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $70,000,000 (1–3)
Box office $914,792,040 (1–3)

Home Alone is a series of family comedy films directed by Chris Columbus (12), Raja Gosnell (3), Rod Daniel (4), and Peter Hewitt (5). The first two films, Home Alone (1990) and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), follow the adventures of a boy named Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) who, during the course of the film, gets burglars Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) arrested by using booby traps. The third film, Home Alone 3 (1997), has a similar plot but with a new protagonist, Alex Pruitt (Alex D. Linz), and more of a spy theme.

A television film, Home Alone 4, was premiered on ABC on November 3, 2002. This film features some of the same characters featured in the first two films including the protagonist Kevin McCallister, but with a new cast and a storyline that does not fall into the same continuity. A second television film, Home Alone: The Holiday Heist, was premiered on ABC Family on November 25, 2012, as a part of the network's special programming block Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas.[1] Like Home Alone 3, the film doesn't revolve around Kevin, but ten-year-old new protagonist Finn Baxter (Christian Martyn). Home Alone is rated PG for minor violence, language, such as "shit", "ass", and a couple of "damns" in the first film. The first three movies are rated TV-PG-D, while the fourth and fifth are rated TV-PG.

Film series[edit]

Home Alone (1990)[edit]

Main article: Home Alone

Home Alone is primarily a coming-of-age story about an 8-year-old boy named Kevin McCallister. He is the youngest of five children who is frequently tormented by his older brothers and sisters. After events transpire between him and his family, he wishes he had no family when his mother is punishing him for what he feels are unjustified reasons. She warns him to be careful what he wishes for. He wakes up the next day to discover he is the only one left in the house. He thinks his wish came true and that he is finally alone without his obnoxious family. In reality, he was left home by mistake. His family is en route to France for a holiday trip. While his parents realize their mistake and scramble to get back to the United States, Harry and Marv, a pair of thieves known as the "Wet Bandits", attempt to rob the house and Kevin must foil them with a collection of homemade booby traps. They get arrested at the end of the film. The film became the highest-grossing film of 1990,[2] grossing $476,684,675 worldwide.[3]

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)[edit]

About 2 years later, Kevin and his family are taking yet another Christmas trip, this time to Florida. During the chaos at the airport, he gets separated from them and accidentally gets on a plane to New York City. After enjoying himself there for a while, he runs into Harry and Marv, who now call themselves the "Sticky Bandits", have escaped from prison during a riot and end up in New York as well. This time, he leads them to a relative's house, which is undergoing renovation, and once again foils them with his booby traps, before they finally get arrested by NYPD.

Home Alone 3 (1997)[edit]

Main article: Home Alone 3

This film does not revolve around Kevin, but centers on Alex Pruitt, a young boy who is home alone with the chickenpox, but gets better. At the same time, four burglars working for a North Korean terrorist group are sent by their boss to retrieve a top-secret microchip that can act as a cloaking device for a missile. They succeed in retrieving it and hide it in a remote controlled car, but due to a luggage mix-up at the airport with the Pruitts' neighbor Mrs. Hess, the car lands in the hands of Alex, who is given the car for shoveling the snow in her driveway. The burglars begin systematically searching every house on his street. Once they realize he has the chip, they prepare to invade his house. He devises elaborate traps and bamboozles the four crooks with the help of his pet rat, his brother's pet parrot, and some intricate tripwires, all the while monitoring them with a video camera on the race car.

Home Alone 4 (2002)[edit]

Main article: Home Alone 4

The fourth installment was directed by Rod Daniel and premiered as a television film on ABC on November 3, 2002. This film returns to the original's main character, Kevin (played by Mike Weinberg), and one of the two Sticky Bandits, Marv (played by French Stewart). Kevin's parents have divorced, and he lives with his mother. He decides to go spend Christmas with his father and his rich girlfriend, Natalie, but finds himself having to deal with his old nemesis Marv, and his new sidekick wife, Vera (played by Missi Pyle), who replaces Harry since he and Marv put their partnership to an end. It was released to Region 1 DVD on October 20, 2003. Filming began on July 29 in Melbourne. Home Alone 4 is the first film in the series that was not theatrically released. The film was also panned worldwide by critics and fans of the first two films, for its low budget production and its inferior continuity to the first two films.

Home Alone 5: The Holiday Heist (2012)[edit]

On March 15, 2012, ABC Family announced the development of the fifth installment in the Home Alone series. It premiered exclusively on ABC Family's Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas on November 25, 2012.[1] The film stars Christian Martyn, Jodelle Ferland, Malcolm McDowell, Debi Mazar and Eddie Steeples.[4] The story centers on the family's relocation from California to Maine, where Finn becomes convinced that his new house is haunted. When his parents become stranded across town, Finn sets traps to catch his new home's ghosts, but instead proves troublesome for a group of three thieves (McDowell, Mazar and Steeples). Despite performing well in the ratings and being considered much better than its predecessor, Home Alone 4, the film still received mixed reviews from fans and television critics.

Cast[edit]

Character and Actor/Actress Film and Year
Home Alone (1990) Home Alone 2:
Lost in New York
(1992)
Home Alone 3 (1997) Home Alone 4 (2002) Home Alone:
The Holiday Heist
(2012)
Kevin McCallister Macaulay Culkin Mike Weinberg
Harry Lyme Joe Pesci (Mentioned only)
Marv Merchants Daniel Stern French Stewart
Kate McCallister Catherine O'Hara Clare Carey
Peter McCallister John Heard Jason Beghe
Buzz McCallister Devin Ratray Gideon Jacobs
Megan McCallister Hillary Wolf Chelsea Russo
Jeff McCallister Michael C. Maronna
Frank McCallister Gerry Bamman
Linnie McCallister Angela Goethals Maureen Elizabeth Shay
Old Man Marley Roberts Blossom
Gus Polinski John Candy
Bird Lady Brenda Fricker
Mr. Hector Tim Curry
Cedric Rob Schneider
Alex Pruitt Alex D. Linz
Peter Beaupre Olek Krupa
Alice Ribbons Rya Kihlstedt
Burton Jernigan Lenny von Dohlen
Earl Unger David Thornton
Karen Pruitt Haviland Morris
Jack Pruitt Kevin Kilner
Stan Pruitt Seth Smith
Molly Pruitt Scarlett Johansson
Mrs. Hess Marian Seldes
Mr. Prescott Erick Avari
Molly Merchants Barbara Babcock
Vera Merchants Missi Pyle
Natalie Joanna Going
Finn Baxter Christian Martyn
Alexis Baxter Jodelle Ferland
Sinclair Malcolm McDowell
Jessica Debi Mazar
Mr. Hughes Eddie Steeples
Catherine Baxter Ellie Harvie
Curtis Baxter Doug Murray
Mason Peter DaCunha
Mr. Carson Edward Asner

Video games[edit]

Home Alone (1991)[edit]

Home Alone was released in 1991 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Amiga, MS-DOS, Nintendo Entertainment System, and Game Boy. The purpose of the game is to escape the Wet Bandits while bringing all the McCallister's fortunes from the house down to the safe room in the basement. Once all items have been sent down the chute to the basement Kevin must make it past rats, bats, and ghosts he encounters in the basement, then fight the spider king so he can make it to the safe room to lock away all his families riches.

In the Home Alone game for the PC, the player must set up traps to hurt the Wet Bandits. In the Home Alone title for the NES, the player must avoid being caught by the Wet Bandits for 20 minutes. During this time, he can set various traps using items around the house, each with a different corresponding strength and allowing the Bandit tripping them to be knocked unconscious longer. Kevin can also hide behind certain parts of the house, but only for two consecutive turns; any other concurrent passings will result in a game over. Each version of the game is an example of the trap-em-up genre, which also includes games like Heiankyo Alien, Space Panic, and Lode Runner. The Home Alone Genesis and Game Gear titles take a different approach from the story; while the plot still revolves around Kevin’s battle with the Wet Bandits, he instead must protect several houses in his neighborhood while waiting 20 minutes for the police to arrive (40 on higher difficulties). During the game, the Wet Bandits drive around the neighborhood in their non-descript van until they decide to enter the house. Kevin can travel by sled (in a top-view format) to the various houses and do battle with the Bandits as they proceed to rob whatever house they are in (in a 2D platform/side scroller format). When this happens, Kevin must fight them off with different weapons and guns in order to fill up an empty Pain Meter; when he does so, he will have saved that particular house and cause the Bandits to retreat. During this time, however, another meter will be filled depending on how much the Bandits have stolen, and if Kevin is unsuccessful in stopping them (thereby filling that particular meter), the house will become “frozen” and he will be unable to reenter the house again. If all the houses end up frozen, the game is over. Kevin starts with a simple BB gun, but he also finds different items he can combine to make various firearms that do different effects depending on the ammunition (glue, snow, light bulbs, sound waves, coals, etc.) and gun type (rifle: flies the farthest and fastest; bazooka: flies slower and at a shorter distance; launch: fires the weapon at a small, short arc; mortar: fires the weapon at a high, but short arc.) Each gun has a specific amount of ammunition, but collecting other ammo items after the completion of certain guns will refill the ammo supply. Should Kevin enter a house before the Bandits, he can lay down several traps throughout the house (keeping with the game’s movie tie-in theme) to help increase the Pain Meter and make protecting the house easier. If any of the Bandits end up capturing Kevin, he will he strung up on a wall while they continue robbing the house, but he can fidget and drop from the wall to continue defending the house. The game starts with one difficulty level, but a harder one can be unlocked. In the hard difficulty, Kevin must wait for 40 minutes for the police to arrive and the bandits’ van will drive faster from house to house, but he will be able to create newer and more powerful guns to fight them off.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992–1993)[edit]

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York was released on the Super NES, NES, and Game Boy in 1992, and the PC, Sega Genesis, and NES in 1993. Though it is based on the film in terms of plot and additional dialogue, the game was different from the film. The NES port uses sound effects from the early 1990s Simpsons games; Bart vs. the Space Mutants for example. The Super NES version, while boasting a soundtrack with the Super NES traditionally realistic sounding instrument synth, suffered due to slightly post-8-bit graphics and sound effects, as well as a disjointed feel of incontinuity between stages.

The NES version has four different levels, the first of which is the Plaza Hotel. Kevin races through various floors and rooms collecting power-ups and avoiding the hotel staff, crazy guests and runaway vacuum cleaners and suitcases. Before he can escape, however, he has to deal with two bosses: the ever-persistent House Detective and the Master Chef. The next level takes place in Central Park, and is similar to the Plaza Hotel: Kevin collects his goodies while avoiding rats, bats and assorted thugs.

The third level takes place in Kevin's uncle's three-story Townhouse. This time Kevin has to avoid Harry and Marv, and sets up several booby-traps to keep the Sticky Bandits (Marv changes their name in the film) at bay. While doing so, Kevin must also find keys that will allow him to escape to the next floor, and ultimately the Rooftop. Once he's on the roof, Kevin escapes to the streets of New York with the Bandits hot on his tail, until he reaches the giant Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. It's here where he gets help from the Pigeon Lady to defeat Harry and Marv, have them sent back to jail, and finally reunite with his family. The game got negative reciption from Electronic Gaming Monthly.[5]

Home Alone (2006)[edit]

Home Alone was released in Europe only. The aim of the game is to go through five areas and dispose of the burglars while locking all the doors and windows to stop more getting in. The player is able to collect potatoes and use tools to close the entrances, and traps to catch the burglars. Unless the player locks all the entrances on the level, however, defeating a burglar simply means another takes his place. Home Alone '06 was released on the PlayStation 2.

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget Reference
United States Foreign Worldwide All time domestic All time worldwide
Home Alone November 16, 1990 $285,761,243 $190,923,432 $476,684,675 #38
#36(A)
#68 $18,000,000 [6]
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York November 20, 1992 $173,585,516 $185,409,334 $358,994,850 #137
#138(A)
#151 $20,000,000 [7][8]
Home Alone 3 December 12, 1997 $30,882,515 $48,200,000 $79,082,515 #1,807 N/A $32,000,000 [9]
Total $490,229,274 $424,532,766 $914,762,040 $70,000,000
List indicator(s)
  • A light grey cell indicates information is not available.
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical reaction[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Home Alone 54% (41 reviews)[10] 63 (9 reviews)[11]
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York 24% (25 reviews)[12] N/A
Home Alone 3 27% (22 reviews)[13] N/A
Home Alone 4 N/A N/A
Average Ratings 35% N/A

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "ABC Family Presents 'Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas' Starting Sunday, November 18". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ Home Alone - Movie Review, retrieved February 11, 2011 
  3. ^ "Home Alone (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 29, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Watch ABC Family Shows, Movies & Full Episodes - ABCFamily.com". ABC Family. Retrieved October 4, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide". 1995. 
  6. ^ "Home Alone (1990)". Box Office Mojo. 
  7. ^ "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)". Box Office Mojo. 
  8. ^ "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Production Budget". The- Numbers. 
  9. ^ "Home Alone 3 (1997)". Box Office Mojo. 
  10. ^ "Home Alone". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Home Alone: Reviews". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Home Alone 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 18, 2013.