After 33 years of entertaining multiple generations around the world, the 90s festive classics Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York are now synonymous with Christmas. There is no greater sign of the two movies’ success than the recent revealing of Macaulay Culkin’s Hollywood Star; the actor was only 11 after the release of the two biggest successes of his career, and arguably two of the most iconic entries to the Christmas movie genre.
The Home Alone franchise is famous for its physical comedy, its cheeky, quick-witted, and lovable protagonist, Kevin, and the Christmas spirit it engulfs everyone in. None of Kevin’s exploits during Home Alone 2 would have been possible without the McCallister’s wealth; not only do his parents own a house that has been valued at a staggering $2.3 million, which equates to £1.8 million, by Zillow this year, but they are also able to go on European holidays and stay in luxury hotels. This raises the question, how much would Kevin’s lavish holiday have cost the McCallisters in the early ‘90s compared to 2023?
Experts at NoDepositDaily.com have analysed Kevin’s stay in New York City, such as the cost of a night’s stay in The Plaza Hotel and the price of a stretch limo for 4 hours; the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator was also used to compare the cost of the varying factors in both 1992 and 2023. These figures were then converted to pounds using the Bank of England inflation calculator.
The resourceful 10-year-old has expensive taste when it comes to his choice of holiday accommodation, with this easily being his most expensive holiday habit. Based on prices from The Plaza’s website, Kevin is estimated to have racked up an overwhelming £15,692.08 bill on luxury suites at the hotel in 1992, which equates to £43,208.18 in 2023. The figures are based on a one-night stay in The Plaza’s Carnegie Partial Park View suite: one of the hotel’s most luxurious king size bed suites, with a separate living room and spacious bathroom which comes in at £3,643.79 in 2023 and £718.30 in 1992.
The figure also includes a one-night stay in The Plaza’s Royal Suite, which is a 3-bed hotel room; it is the suite best resembling the multistorey apartment the McCallister family stay in at the end of the movie. This would have set the McCallisters back £14,973.78 in 1992 and would cost someone a shocking £39,564.39 today.
Kevin spends an amusingly hefty £631.45 on room service. The figure, which is $967.43, forms the context of one of the franchise’s most famous and comical lines, bellowed across Central Park from The Plaza by Kevin’s dad: “Kevin, you spent $967 on room service”. It is easy to understand his dad’s frustration when converting this in line with inflation, as his bill would be an astonishing £1,738.27 today.
A private stretch limo is another pricey expense which is fortunately footed by The Plaza, leaving Kevin without a £219.32 dent in his wallet. However, today it would cost a whopping £580.11 for a four-hour limo ride around New York City; unless you can find a way for a hotel employee to walk in on your father showering, in which case, you might receive a free limo ride like Kevin. And to top off his lavish ride, Kevin is gifted a large cheese pizza and a can of Coca-Cola, sipped from a champagne flute, which would add an extra £6.16 in 1992 and £16.26 in 2023.
One of the movie’s most entertaining but simultaneously frustrating scenes unfolds in JFK Airport as Kevin embarks on a pursuit through the airport to reunite with his dad, only to unwittingly board a flight from Chicago to New York City. Flights are known for not being the cheapest aspect of a holiday, and a 1992 flight from Chicago to JFK on the 23rd of December would have set you back around £67.89, equating to £187.99 in 2023. Luckily for Kevin, he doesn’t have to pay a penny as he has wealthy parents, and because he loses his boarding pass after a collision with a cabin crew member.
Another costly expense, and an accepted part of the NYC lifestyle, is Kevin’s ride in one of the city’s iconic yellow cabs from JFK Airport to Midtown Manhattan. This costs approximately £79.58 today, which is the same as £16.33 in 1992. In this memorable and charming scene, a starry-eyed Kevin marvels at the sights and sounds of The Big Apple.
One of the world’s most legendary fictional toy shops, and the toy shop of every child’s dream, Duncan’s Toy Chest receives £15.49 from Kevin for a toy he buys, and he donates £13.05 to St. Anne's Children's Hospital whilst at the store. With inflation, this would be £40.98 and £34.58, respectively, in 2023. As a token of Mr Duncan’s appreciation, he gives Kevin two turtle doves, one of which Kevin gifts to the Pigeon Lady in one of the movie’s most heart-warming moments.
In another scene, Kevin is seen enjoying the views from the observation deck at the World Trade Center, which sadly no longer exists. Using a child’s ticket price from 2000 as a guide, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator, Kevin’s trip to one of the Twin Towers would have cost him approximately £3.59. The main structure of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex is the One World Observatory, and a child’s ticket for admission right now is £30.05.
The blinding flashes of the Roman Candle fireworks alert cops to the location of the Sticky Bandits in Central Park. Kevin picks up two 6-packs of the fireworks from a store in Chinatown. While it may seem unusual that a 10-year-old was able to buy these, especially with it being illegal to sell fireworks in the state of New York, the law was not enforced in Chinatown in 1992. Using an average price from a variety of stores selling Roman Candles, two 6-packs would have cost Kevin around £13.03 today, which would have been £4.93 in 1992.
However, Kevin demonstrates that it is possible to experience and enjoy NYC at Christmas time without spending an eye-watering amount of money. His multiple visits to Central Park and his trip to the world’s most iconic Christmas tree, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, would have been free to visit for Kevin, as they still are today.
The grand total of Kevin’s trip in 1992 would have been approximately £16,670.29 – and to recreate Kevin’s stay in December 2023 would cost around a staggering £45,929.22.
Mervyn Davids from NoDepositDaily.com has commented on the findings:
“The classic Christmas movies that stand the test of time are those that are able to create an abundance of magic, fun, and wonder, to the extent that viewers want to immerse themselves in that world; Home Alone 2 does exactly this. So, it is no surprise to find that The Plaza has created a ‘Home Alone 2: Fun in New York’ package to fulfill fans’ desire to live out their Home Alone 2 fantasies.
“However, for the true die-hard fans of the franchise, the package alone may not be enough. Acting out each element of the movie may be required to satisfy their dreams, but with this comes a hefty bill. In today’s economic climate, perhaps sticking to a large cheese pizza whilst watching Home Alone 2 from the comfort of your sofa creates all the festive cheer a person could need.”