Christmas Classic “Home Alone”: How Rich Are the McCallisters Really?

The Christmas classic “Home Alone” is well-known to everyone. One question particularly intrigues the fan base: How rich are the McCallisters?

There are those immortal Christmas classics that one can watch every year without getting tired of them. Each time, the magic they exude generates excitement as if watching them for the first time. It doesn’t matter how old they are or how firmly they are rooted in the time they were filmed and released. Classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1947), “Scrooged” (1988), “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989), “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992), and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000) are timeless treasures. Other festive classics like “Die Hard” or “Gremlins” are excluded from this list.

Not to be forgotten in this list is one of the absolute, if not the definitive, Christmas classic: “Home Alone.” What producer and screenwriter John Hughes (“Planes, Trains and Automobiles”) and director Chris Columbus (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”) gifted to the world in 1990 remains unmatched to this day. Whether it’s the humor, the creative and innovative traps, the villainous and brilliantly played gangster duo Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), also known as the Wet Bandits, the wonderfully festive atmosphere throughout, or the discovery of the film in the form of child star Macaulay Culkin, “Home Alone” embodies perfect family entertainment across generations.

It’s hard to believe that Warner Bros. got cold feet back then and handed over the $18 million production to 20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox). With the film ultimately grossing nearly $480 million, the decision-makers must have regretted it as much as the Grinch himself. By the way,,, and Disney+, where you can stream all five films of the “Home Alone” series, recently held an exclusive Christmas screening of the film classic.

The McCallisters belong to the richest one percent of Chicago As a child, it might have been overlooked due to the exciting and funny story, but the McCallisters seem to be a quite wealthy family. The gigantic mansion they own alone suggests that this is a family that lacks nothing. But how rich are the McCallisters really? The New York Times delved into this question, one that fans may have wondered about more than once.

The first and most obvious clue is, of course, the family’s house—a three-story, spacious property in classic style. It actually exists and is located at 671 Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka, Cook County, a wealthy suburb about 30 kilometers from Chicago, Illinois, with a population of around 12,700. According to Realtor, this is one of the wealthiest areas in the United States.

According to the information, in 1990, only the richest one percent of Chicago could afford this house—today even more so. Only households with an annual income of $305,000 back then or $665,000 today would be able to do so. The total value of the property is estimated to be around $2.4 million compared to the market. Clearly, whoever lives here has a lot of valuable possessions in the house. As Harry says to Marv when they eagerly inspect the houses:

“This is the jackpot. It’s a palace. There’s loads of stuff we can take. Stereos, VCRs, probably a couple of nice watches. Maybe a few bucks or some stocks. Who knows, it’s a gold mine.”

In that case, the McCallisters would likely belong to the upper middle class. This immediately raises the question of what the parents, Peter (John Heard) and Kate McCallister (Catherine O’Hara), do for a living. According to author Todd Strasser, who took care of the accompanying novel to the film, Kate is a fashion designer, while Peter is likely a high-ranking businessman (some theories suggest a connection to organized crime, possibly as a money launderer). This could fit well because the parents likely earned their wealth themselves, without inheriting it. As Peter said to Kate when they settled into first-class on their way to Paris for the holidays:

“The only trip I took as a child was on a bus and certainly not to France. We always just visited Aunt Laura and Uncle Arthur.”

Speaking of flights: Plane tickets for 11 children and four adults to Paris are no small expense. According to The Washington Post, the flight alone for everyone costs around $25,000. However, this was not paid by Peter and Kate or Uncle Frank or Aunt Leslie but by Uncle Rob, who is likely the truly wealthy one in the family. He even owns an expensive apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the heart of Paris. Originally, he lived with his family in New York City but moved to Paris for work, keeping his New York house instead of selling it.

It can be concluded that the McCallister brothers – except for Uncle Frank, who even steals salt and pepper shakers from the plane – have achieved their own prosperity. The family of Peter and Kate is a prime example of an upper-middle-class American family. They lack nothing, yet they remain down-to-earth. They can afford modern technology, beautiful clothing, and furnishings but don’t flaunt pure luxury items. They indulge in an expensive express airport transfer, Mother Kate gives the pizza delivery person a generous tip, and, over the holidays in Paris, they simply leave the lights on at home, which, from today’s perspective, might be considered energy-consuming but is done for safety reasons.

For true Christmas fans, it’s easy to recognize all these classics based on a single image. Surely, it’s the same for you too?

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