The Parent Trap (franchise)

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The Parent Trap
The Parent Trap - official franchise logo.png
Official franchies logo, as released in 1998.
Based onLottie and Lisa
by Erich Kästner
Distributed byThe Walt Disney Company
Release date
Running time
508 minutes (5 films)
CountryUnited States
(1 film)
Box office<$106,759,044
(Total of 2 films)

The Parent Trap franchise[1][2] consists of American family-comedies, including the original theatrical film, three made-for-television sequel movies, and a theatrical legacy sequel/soft-remake. Based on the 1949 novel Lottie and Lisa by Erich Kästner, the plot centers around identical twin sisters, who were separated at birth and rediscover each other while attending summer camp. The pair trade places upon returning home, and devise a plan to bring their family back together.

The original 1961 film received positive critical response, and was deemed a success.[3] Starting in 1988 three television sequels were produced and released as a part of The Magical World of Disney series. The 1998 film, received critical acclaim and was a hit for the studio financially.[4][5]

The franchise will continue, with a streaming exclusive reboot in development to be released on Disney+.[6]


The 1949 German fictional children's picture book by Erich Kästner, was originally written during WWII as the plot for a movie. In 1942, Kästner was allowed by Nazi officials to develop the project under the working title of "The Great Secret", before the authorities eventually forbade his continued work. After the resolution of the war, the author redeveloped the story into the successful novel that was released.[citation needed]

The plot follows Lisa Palffy and Lottie Körner, two identical twins who were separated at birth when their parents divorced while each raised by one half of the respective couple. The unsuspecting sisters meet at a summer camp at Bohrlaken on Lake Bohren, where they engineer a plan to switch places when they return home. Though their behavior differs greatly, the parents do not suspect that the daughters had switched places. Upon realization the family reunites and at the behest of the daughters, the couple gets back together.[7]

The book was adapted into various releases, including Walt Disney's adaptation. The novel was discovered by Disney's story editor Bill Dover who recommended the studio purchase the film rights. Production commenced in July 1960 under the working title of "We Belong Together", and went until September of the same year.[8][9]


Film U.S. release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
The Parent Trap June 21, 1961 (1961-06-21) David Swift Walt Disney and George Golitzen
The Parent Trap II July 26, 1986 (1986-07-26) Ronald F. Maxwell Stuart Krieger Joan Barnett
Parent Trap III April 9, 1989 (1989-04-09) Mollie Miller Jill Donner Deborah Amelon & Jill Donner Jill Donner and Henry Colman
Parent Trap: Hawaiian Honeymoon January 19, 1989 (1989-01-19) John McNamara Charles Milhaupt and Richard Luke Rothschild
The Parent Trap June 22, 1998 (1998-06-22) Nancy Meyers David Swift
and Nancy Meyers & Charles Shyer
Charles Shyer
Untitled reboot TBA TBA TBA TBA Bob Iger

The Parent Trap (1961)[edit]

Two identical twin sisters, Sharon McKendrick and Susan Evers, who were separated at birth due to their parents' divorce are unintentionally reunited years later at summer camp. Together, they devise a plan to bring their parents back together and reconcile their family. Sharon and Susan, one of which has lived with their mother and the other with their father, switch places after camp with intentions being to sway their parents into falling in love once more. Their attempts are problematically opposed by their father's gold-digging fiancé. The girls double their efforts in bringing their parents together.[10]

The Parent Trap II (1986)[edit]

Years after the first film, Sharon finds herself living the life of a divorced, single mother. While at summer school, her 11-year-old daughter Nikki befriends a girl named Mary. The pair work together as matchmakers to persuade Susan into dating Mary's widowed father, named Bill. The young friends work to convince their parents that they should be dating. As Sharon plans to move to New York, Susan is brought into the plan in order to help the single parents realize they love each other.[11]

Parent Trap III (1989)[edit]

Upon returning from their respective summer vacations, triplets Megan, Lisa, and Jessie Wyatt discover that their father Jeffrey is engaged to a snobbish Cassie McGuire. When Cassie makes the unpopular decision to remodel the family's beach house in California, Susan Evers is hired to redecorate. Susan, who is now divorced, finds fulfillment in her work. As the triplets collectively decide that Susan is the right woman for their father, they develop a plan to bring the pair together. When their scheme doesn't seem to be working, they turn to Susan's twin sister, Sharon McKendrick-Grand for assistance. With the wedding quickly approaching, the women set out to prevent Jeffrey from marrying the wrong woman.[12]

Parent Trap: Hawaiian Honeymoon (1989)[edit]

Newlywed couple Jeffrey and Susan Wyatt inherit a family resort in Hawai'i from his late-aunt. Together, the couple, his teenaged triplets, and Susan's twin sister Sharon, move to the island to repair its run-down condition and restore the vacationing location so that they can run an operating business. Despite their attempts, the project proves to be more than its worth, so Jeffrey and Susan decide to sell the property once it is reinstated. As the triplets encounter experiences with the boys they meet at the beech, Jeffrey comes into contact with an old high school rival named Ray. Ray bargains to purchase the property, with a promise of keeping the resort as-is. It soon comes to light that Ray has ulterior motives, which may not only include the land.[13]

The Parent Trap (1998)[edit]

American-raised Hallie Parker and British-raised Annie James are twin sisters, who were separated at birth. By happenstance, the two attend the same summer camp and meet as complete strangers. Born to divorced parents Nick and Elizabeth, the preteen girls were raised on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. After overcoming their differences and becoming close friends, the pair create a plan to swap places when they go home, giving each of them the chance to spend time with the parent that they have not had an opportunity to build a relationship with. The twins soon decide that they want to get the family back together, and come up with ideas for reuniting their parents.[14]

Untitled reboot (TBA)[edit]

In November 2019, it was announced that a reboot is in development. The project will be released via streaming, as a Disney+ exclusive.[15][16][6]

Main cast and characters[edit]

Character Film
The Parent Trap
The Parent Trap II Parent Trap III Parent Trap:
Hawaiian Honeymoon
The Parent Trap
Untitled reboot
Principal cast
Sharon McKendrick-Grand Hayley Mills  
Susan Evers-Wyatt  
Margaret "Maggie" McKendrick Maureen O'Hara  
Mitchel "Mitch" Evers Brian Keith  
William "Bill" Grand   Tom Skerritt  
Nicole "Nikki" Ferris   Carrie Kei Heim  
Mary Grand   Bridgette Andersen  
Lisa Wyatt   Leanna Creel  
Jessie Wyatt   Monica Lacy  
Megan Wyatt   Joy Creel  
Hallie Parker   Lindsay Lohan  
Annie James    
Nicholas "Nick" Parker   Dennis Quaid  
Elizabeth "Liz" James   Natasha Richardson  
Supporting cast
Vicky "Vicki" Robinson-Blake Joanna Barnes   Joanna Barnes  
Cassie McGuire   Patricia Richardson  
Nick   Ray Baker  
Ray   John M. Jackson  
Charlotte Brink   Jayne Meadows  
Charles James   Ronnie Stevens  
Chessy   Lisa Ann Walter  
Martin   Simon Kunz  
Meredith Blake   Elaine Hendrix  
Les Blake   J. Patrick McCormack  

Additional crew and production details[edit]

Film Crew/Detail
Composer Cinematographer Editor(s) Production
Running time
The Parent Trap (1961) Paul Smith Lucien Ballard Philip W. Anderson Walt Disney Productions Buena Vista Distribution Company 128 minutes
The Parent Trap II Charles Fox Peter Stein Corky Ehlers Walt Disney Television The Walt Disney Company,
Buena Vista Television,
The Disney Channel,
Disney-ABC Domestic Television,
The Landsburg Company
81 minutes
Parent Trap III Joel McNeely Isidore Mankofsky Howard Kunin & Duane Hartzell Buena Vista Television,
Disney-ABC Domestic Television,
National Broadcasting Company
85 minutes
Parent Trap: Hawaiian Honeymoon Michel Hugo Art Stafford & Karen I. Stern 86 minutes
The Parent Trap (1998) Alan Silvestri Dean Cundey Stephen A. Rotter Walt Disney Pictures Buena Vista Pictures Distribution 128 minutes
Untitled reboot TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA


Box office and financial performance[edit]

Film Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Worldwide total
net income
North America Other territories Worldwide All time
North America
All time
The Parent Trap (1961) $25,150,385 $4,500,000 $29,650,385 #3,163 #5,991 Not publicly available <$29,650,385 [17]
The Parent Trap (1998) $66,308,518 $25,800,141 $92,108,659 #1,257 #3,340 $15,000,000 $77,108,659 [18][5][19]
Totals $91,458,903 $30,300,141 $121,759,044 <$106,759,044

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
The Parent Trap (1961) 90% (20 reviews)[3] 73/100 (4 reviews)[20] N/A
The Parent Trap II N/A(3 reviews)[21] N/A N/A
Parent Trap III N/A(2 reviews)[22] N/A N/A
Parent Trap: Hawaiian Honeymoon N/A[23] N/A N/A
The Parent Trap (1998) 86% (51 reviews)[4] 64/100 (19 reviews)[24] A[25]

In other media[edit]

Streaming event[edit]

In May 2020, Nancy Meyeres announced a 22-year anniversary reunion event for the 1998 remake cast and crew. The anniversary event included Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Elaine Hendrix, Lisa Ann Walter, Meyers, Charles Shyer and Simon Kunz. In July of the same year, together they discussed the making of the movie, on Katie Couric's Instagram page as a charity fundraiser for World Central Kitchen.[26][27]


Family Films Productions is developing The Legacy of The Parent Trap, a documentary film that gives a retrospective insight into developing The Parent Trap. [28][29] The film features memories and stories of various cast and crew, about the original 1961 film and its three sequels. Among the interviews, all-new footage featuring Hayley Mills is included. Additional interviewees include Tom Skerritt, Carrie Kei Heim, Creel triplets including, Monica Creel Lacy, Leanna & Joy Creel, Susan Henning, Ron Maxwell (Director of Parent Trap II, Mollie Miller (Director of Parent Trap III/Hawaiian Honeymoon), Tommy Sands, and Joanna Barnes and even Lynette Winters, and Kay Cole (camp inch scenes). Bridgette Andersen's Teresa mother discusses reflections on experiences that occurred on-set during filming of The Parent Trap II, with director Ron Maxwell, among others. Marilyn McCoo also is featured sharing memories about recording music for Parent Trap II. Charles Fox wrote the theme, "Let's Get What We Got" which was the title music in the opening for "The Parent Trap II", and the entire music score. He is also featured on-camera, with talking about his experiences in the music.

The project analyzes and focus on the life of Erich Kastner who wrote the original German book, Das Doppelte Lottchen that the films were based on. Luke Springman, German professor Aaron Pacentine is an executive producer of the film. This is the first full-length film documentary that details coverage on the 1980s Parent Trap films, and the first time the director, Mollie Miller, has spoken out publicly about the original film since then.


  1. ^ Shepherd, Josh (December 19, 2019). "22 Missing Or Incomplete Disney+ Film And TV Franchises". What's on Disney Plus. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  2. ^ Q, Mandie (May 19, 2020). "8 Hayley Mills Movies Every Disney Fan Should Watch". Chip and Co's Disney Addicts. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "The Parent Trap (1961)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  4. ^ a b "The Parent Trap (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  5. ^ a b "The Parent Trap (1998) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
  6. ^ a b Goldberg, Lesley (February 21, 2018). "Disney Planning Another 'Muppets' Reboot for Its Streaming Service (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  7. ^ Book Summary staff. "Lottie and Lisa". Book Summary. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  8. ^ BY WAY OF REPORT By A.H. WEILER. New York Times 4 Sep 1960: 79.
  9. ^ O'Hara, Maureen; Nicoletti, John (2004). 'Tis herself : a memoir. Thorndike Press. p. 417.
  10. ^ Variety (December 31, 1960). "The Parent Trap". Variety. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  11. ^ The Walt Disney Company (July 26, 1986). "The Parent Trap II". Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  12. ^ True Classic Movies (April 9, 1989). "Parent Trap III". True Classic Movies. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  13. ^ True Classic Movies (November 26, 1989). "Parent Trap Hawaiian Honeymoon". True Classic Movies. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  14. ^ Leydon, Joe (July 27, 1998). "The Parent Trap". Variety. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  15. ^ Bajgrowicz, Brooke (November 28, 2019). "Disney+: Every Movie Getting A Reboot". Screen Rant. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  16. ^ Bone, Christian (November 2019). "The Parent Trap Remake Reportedly Coming To Disney Plus". We Got This Covered. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  17. ^ "The Parent Trap (1961) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
  18. ^ "The Parent Trap". Box Office Mojo.
  19. ^ Knott, Matthew Hammett (May 29, 2014). "Heroines of Cinema: These 10 Female Filmmakers Prove Why Hollywood Studios Should Change Their Tune". IndieWire. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  20. ^ "The Parent Trap". Metacritic.
  21. ^ "Parent Trap II (1986)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  22. ^ "Parent Trap III (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  23. ^ "Parent Trap Hawaiian Honeymoon (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  24. ^ "The Parent Trap". Metacritic.
  25. ^ "Home". Cinemascore.
  26. ^ Murphy, Chris (May 21, 2020). "Lindsay Lohan and Nancy Meyers Hint at Potential Parent Trap Remake". Vulture. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  27. ^ Ramos, Dino- Ray (July 19, 2020). "'The Parent Trap' Sets Reunion With Nancy Meyers, Lindsay Lohan And Dennis Quaid To Celebrate 22nd Anniversary Of Disney Film". Deadline. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  29. ^ (23 June 2018). The Legacy of The Parent Trap - Official Film Trailer – via YouTube.