Alongside The Godfather Part II, Toy Story 2, and Paddington 2, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is on that exclusive list of sequels which prove that cinematic lightning can strike twice. The 1992 caper not only replicated the original movie’s winning combination of holiday cheer, criminal family neglect, and slapstick violence inflicted by a hugely resourceful, if slightly sociopathic, tween, it also upped the ante with a trip to a snow-capped Big Apple, a Mary Poppins-esque bird lady, and Tim Curry delivering possibly cinema’s finest evil grin.
Thirty years after Kevin McCallister unleashed his second reign of booby-trapped terror, here’s a look at 10 facts about the festive favorite.
1. Joe Pesci suffered for his art.
Several experts have determined that The Wet Bandits would have died in real life from the torrent of injuries suffered at the hands of their pre-teen nemesis. While Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern thankfully managed to walk away from the Home Alone franchise with their lives intact, the former did experience one particularly hair-raising moment—literally. As the motor-mouthed funnyman revealed to People decades later, he sustained serious burns to the top of his head while filming one of two scenes in which Harry’s hat is set ablaze.
2. Daniel Stern suffered, too.
While reprising his role of the hapless Marv Murchins, Stern learned that there’s truth to the old adage, “Never work with children or animals” when he endured the trauma of a pigeon flying directly into his mouth. Alongside Pesci, the actor found himself covered from head to toe in birdseed before hundreds of the trained creatures were let loose for the hilarious attack. But one particular bird made a beeline for Stern, suggesting that Marv’s girly scream was very much for real.
3. Donald Trump bullied his way into a cameo.
We didn’t—and couldn’t possibly—know it at the time, but Home Alone 2 ensured that Ronald Reagan wouldn't be the only POTUS to have some acting credits to his name when it gave a cameo to Donald Trump. Well, "gave” probably isn’t the right word. Director Christopher Columbus later revealed he was essentially railroaded into handing the future president a speaking role in return for use of his Plaza Hotel.
In 2021, Culkin famously joined growing calls for Trump’s one line (“down the hall and to the left”) to be cut from the movie. But Columbus revealed that test audiences actually cheered at the sight of the real estate magnate back in 1992.
4. The movie marked a major payday for Macaulay Culkin.
Culkin was a virtual unknown when he was cast as Kevin McCallister in 1990’s Home Alone, which explains why his salary for fronting a family-friendly Hollywood caper was a relatively meager $110,000. Of course, with his Golden Globe-nominated, star-making performance helping the original film become the highest-grossing live-action comedy of all time at the time, the child star was able to command a much bigger paycheck the second time around. In fact, Culkin received a whopping 4000 percent pay rise for Lost in New York, with his $4.5 million earnings topped off with a significant cut of the movie’s $359 million gross.
5. Culkin’s father caused a major headache for the studio.
Kit Culkin, Macaulay’s father/manager, was well-known for causing trouble behind the scenes, and Lost in New York was no exception. Kit Culkin practically held 20th Century Fox for ransom by threatening to take his son out of the Home Alone franchise unless they gave him the leading role in the horror movie The Good Son. Recognizing that the sequel wouldn’t work without the original Kevin McCallister, the studio caved to Kit’s demands. In 1993, Macaulay Culkin could be seen playing another psychopathic tween—only this time one who does actually tip over the edge into murder.
6. The Talkboy was originally only a prop.
The Talkboy, which was used (among other things) to fool Tim Curry’s Grinch-like concierge into thinking that Kevin’s irascible uncle is using the shower, became one of the must-have Christmas presents of 1993. But the cassette recorder didn’t actually exist until John Hughes willed it into existence. Yes, the scriptwriter was adamant that Kevin should have a top-of-the-range new toy to help wreak havoc across New York and so 20th Century Fox’s marketing team joined forces with Tiger Electronics to create a non-working prop. The film’s success inspired the latter company to release a model for real which allowed kids across America to wreak havoc on their own homes.
7. Michael Jackson visited the set several times.
In 1991, a year after Home Alone arrived in theaters, Culkin appeared in the video for Michael Jackson’s "Black or White” and the two developed a friendship. That same year, the King of Pop also showed up announced several times during the filming of Lost In New York. Set decorator Daniel Clancy later revealed how Jacko took the child star out for dinner in a limo in-between takes, while Devin Ratray, a.k.a. Kevin’s domineering older brother Buzz, disclosed how he also rocked up to rehearsals at the McCallister family’s Chicago home one ice-cold February morning.
8. You can step into Kevin McCallister’s shoes.
The 1-800-759-3000 number used for The Plaza Hotel in the film was the same in real life. So, to capitalize on all the interested parties that phoned it, the establishment began offering a Home Alone Experience. Fans with McCallister kind of money can still book a room similar to Kevin’s in the movie, complete with “one of those little refrigerators you have to open with a key;” tour some of the movie's locations, including Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, and Radio City Music Hall in a limo and enjoy the young mischief-maker’s ultimate food heaven, a large cheese pizza.
9. Duncan’s Toy Chest doesn’t exist.
Be prepared for your childhood illusions to be shattered: the magical toy shop where Kevin is gifted a pair of ceramic turtle doves (just what every kid wants, obviously) and which he saves from a Wet Bandits robbery doesn’t exist in real life. Duncan’s Toy Chest (which was named in honor of Duncan Henderson, the film’s executive producer) was an entirely fictional one based on F.A.O. Schwarz’s flagship store in Manhattan. Its exterior shots were taken outside Chicago’s Rookery Building, also the same property used in The Untouchables as the headquarters of Kevin Costner’s Prohibition agent Eliot Ness.
10. It originally had a different title.
Lost in New York is certainly more descriptive than Alone Again, the title originally bandied about by producers. But director Chris Columbus argued that it sounded more like a remake than a sequel (he also reportedly cut a scene where Kevin trying on some aftershave over fears that the film would be seen as a mere rehash of the original). But the most detailed title undoubtedly belongs to the French release, Maman, j’ai encore raté l’avion, which translated to, “Mom, I Missed the Plane Again.”