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Crazy Facts About The Holiday Classic Home Alone
When it comes to childhood fantasies and Christmas movies, few can match the mischievous nostalgia of “Home Alone”. Released on November 16, 1990, the John Hughes classic introduced the world at large to the brilliance of Macaulay Culkin. Hughes came up with the idea for ”Home Alone” while filming another comedy classic, “Uncle Buck”.
The singular scene where Culkin interrogates Daniel Stern through a doggy door inspired the $285 million mega-hit that lorded over the box office for months. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the Christmas classic “Home Alone”.
The Culkin Clan
While Hughes wrote and produced “Home Alone”, Chris Columbus directed it. Therefore, he decided who would play the leading role of Kevin McCallister. Obviously, Hughes strongly advocated for Culkin but Columbus still auditioned over 100 youngsters for the lead role. Clearly, Culkin was the correct choice but he wasn’t the only Culkin to appear in the film.
Kieran, of “Succession” fame, played Fuller, Kevin’s bed-wetting cousin. As Columbus learned when you hire the kids, you also get the family, which in the case of the Culkins meant drama. “I was much younger and I was really too naive to think about the family environment as well. We didn't know that much about the family at the beginning; as we were shooting, we learned a little more. The stories are hair-raising. I was casting a kid who truly had a troubled family life.”
Box Office Domination
Not only did “Home Alone” destroy the competition but it also set records. Opening weekend the film grossed $17,081,997 and held the top stop for nearly three full months. It also managed to stay in the top 10 until June of the following year! That ridiculous run of success earned it the Guinness World Record for the highest-grossing live-action comedy. It was a distinction it held for an astounding 27 years!
The only people sore about this fact were the executives at Warner Brothers who originally owned the rights but sold it off to 20th Century Fox over budget concerns. Yikes! Much to their chagrin, the movie did so well it became a verb. As iconic screenwriter William Goldman wrote, “More than one executive said to me, ‘My picture did 40, but it would have done 50 if it hadn’t been Home Aloned.’” Its rampant success reached as far as Poland where it has become something of a Christmas tradition. As recently as 2011, 5 million Poles tuned in to watch the classic; that’s nearly 15% of the entire population!
Joe Pesci What Ifs
Pesci, who at the time was more known for his hard-bitten roles in “Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas” took his method-acting chops into the family-friendly arena. Apparently, Pesci had to curb his love of four-letter words while on set. Funnily enough, both Robert De Niro and Jon Lovitz got the right of first refusal before the role fell to Pesci.
Even though the role was a departure from his usual parts, he kept his style of fully embodying the character. Reportedly, he avoided Culkin on set so the precocious actor would actually be scared of him. Culkin remembered one scene where Pesci went full method actor on one of his fingers. “In the first Home Alone, they hung me up on a coat hook, and Pesci says, ‘I’m gonna bite all your fingers off, one at a time.’” And during one of the rehearsals, he bit me, and it broke the skin.”
Incredibly, Hughes wrote the blockbuster film in just a single week! However, many of the movie's most memorable scenes were thanks to the genius improvisations of its actors. The scene where Kevin claps his hands to cheeks and screams from aftershave?
That was all Culkin as Columbus recalls, "If you put something on your face that burns, most people move their hands right away. So my direction to him was when you pat your face, move your hands, and scream. And I think it was the first take, he kept his hands on his cheeks. It's funny, the iconic moment from 'Home Alone' was an accident."
The Candy Man
Not to be outdone, John Candy, who filmed all of his scenes in just 24 hours, let his comedic chops fly. As the director said, "He was on the movie for only one day, but it resulted in so much great improvisation. None of that stuff was in the script," he said. "The funeral parlor story, that was all improvised at 4:30 in the morning. We could barely keep a straight face on set just listening to John."
Tags: Home Alone | Joe Pesci | John Candy | Kieran Culkin | Macaulay Culkin
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