Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for years.
Home Alone is the most successful Christmas-themed movie of all time, grossing a massive $476.7 million on an $18 million budget. Not only was its young star Macaulay Culkin nominated for a Golden Globe for his role, the film also became the highest-grossing live action comedy film of all time in the United States. In honor of the Christmas season being upon us, let's take a look at some zany facts about the beloved Christmas staple.
1. The role of Kevin was written specifically for Macaulay Culkin. However, that didn't stop director Chris Columbus from auditioning an additional 100 other young actors for the part. The process was essentially pointless, as Culkin nailed his audition.
2. Home Alone is a Guinness World record holder: the film earned the title of the highest-grossing live-action comedy ever domestically. Its opening weekend, the Christmas classic grossed $17,081,997 and maintained the number one spot for a full 12 weeks. It was the highest grossing film of 1990.
3. The McCallister home has since become a major tourist attraction. It's located at 671 Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka, Illinois. In 2012, the property sold for an impressive $1.585 million by the home owners, John and Cynthia Abendshien.
4. Director Chris Columbus almost directed another holiday classic, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. The project ended poorly when a personality clash between Columbus and Chevy Chase led to Columbus leaving the movie. He then accepted the script from John Hughes for Home Alone.
5. For the role of Harry Lime (Joe Pesci), countless actors including Robert De Niro, Christopher Lloyd, John Lovitz and Danny DeVito were considered. Both De Niro and Lovitz rejected the part, and the role was given to Joe Pesci.
6. Joe Pesci opted for method acting during filming. In order to get the best authentic performance possible, Pesci tried to avoid Macaulay Culkin on the set so the young actor would truly be afraid of him.
7. Both Daniel Stern (Marv) and Joe Pesci (Harry) had difficulty refraining from swear words, which became very annoying to Pesci since Culkin was often on set. The only swear word that made it into the film was by Stern, who accidentally said "sh*t" when his shoe fell through the doggy door.
8. The film's stunts created a lot of tension for the crew during filming. Director Chris Columbus had said, "Every time the stunt guys did one of those stunts it wasn't funny. We'd watch it, and I would just pray that the guys were alive." The Wet Bandits endured a lot of violence at the hands of an eight-year-old, so much that neither of them should have been walking or conscious by the end.
9. The tarantula used on Stern's (Marv's) face was indeed a real spider. He agreed to let it happen but only for one take. In order to not frighten the spider, Stern had to mime the dramatic scream and have it dubbed in later.
10. The line "You guys give up, or are you thirsty for more?" was actually improvised by Macaulay Culkin (Kevin).
11. The famous movie poster for the film with Macaulay Culkin clutching his cheeks and screaming, is based on the Edvard Munch painting, "The Scream."
12. Daneil Stern (Marv) wore a pair of rubber feet during his barefoot scenes of stepping on the nail and tar booby traps on the stairs.
13. The picture of Buzz's girlfriend that Kevin finds is actually a picture of a boy made to look like a girl. The director felt it would be too mean to make fun of a girl in that manner.
14. John Heard (Peter McCallister) wasn't thrilled about working on the film, and thought it would be really bad. Once he realized how great it was, he apologized to the director, who claims he still has the apology on tape.
15. Coincidentally, both Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern felt indifferent about the film's potential during shooting, so they intentionally gave over-the-top performances since neither believed it would be a massive success. (Boy were they wrong!)
16. The movie that Kevin watches on video tape is not actually a real film, but footage specially created. It was called "Angels With Filthy Souls", which caused many movie-goers to attempt to hunt down the film.
17. Macaulay Culkin's stunt double was a very short, thirty-year-old man.
18. Everyone on set was extremely impressed by Culkin's maturity and professionalism. Joe Pesci had told Entertainment Weekly, "Mac is not like a nine-year-old. He's an old man already."
19. Home Alone is considered a traditional Christmas movie in Poland, since it was one of the first western films shown in the country after the fall of communism. It has aired on national television during primetime Christmas season every year since 1990.
20. Director Chris Columbus' biggest fear as a kid was burglars, which is one of the reasons he wanted to make the film.
21. Macaulay Culkin was only allowed to work on set for five hours a day, due to child labor laws. The crew therefore planned out the scenes around his schedule, putting him on-camera alone frequently.
22. The director initially wanted a scene in which the furnace came to life, gets up on all fours and chases Kevin to the stairs. However, the scene would have cost over a million dollars, so it was shifted to the furnace simply lighting up, and groaning Kevin's name.
23. The major success of Home Alone allowed Chris Columbus to move on to other more successful projects like Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and two Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
24. To promote a stronger Christmas atmosphere, red and green are major reoccuring colors throughout the movie, appearing consciously in every scene. That includes furniture, food containers, clothing and all the wallpaper.
25. At the end of the movie where it snows outside Kevin's house, the snow was actually mashed potato flakes.
© 2018 Rachel M Johnson