One debate that goes on from time to time is which is better – “Home Alone” or “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”. Whilst the original is considered a Christmas classic, the darker toned and more divisive sequel certainly has its share of staunch supporters.
Chris Columbus returned to direct the sequel, which sees Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin McCallister separated from his family on their holiday vacation to Florida; this time, he’s in New York City, where he has another encounter with the same bandits from the first film.
One of the film’s most infamous moments involves a cameo from New York businessman and then future/now former U.S. President Donald Trump, whom Kevin bumps into in the foyer of the Trump-owned Plaza Hotel, which is a key element of the film.
Several years back in 2020, Columbus spoke with Business Insider and said that the Trump cameo wasn’t something originally planned by the filmmakers – it was a conditional clause to use the shooting location:
“Like most locations in New York City, you just pay a fee and you are allowed to shoot in that location. We approached The Plaza Hotel, which Trump owned at the time, because we wanted to shoot in the lobby. We couldn’t rebuild The Plaza on a soundstage.
Trump said OK. We paid the fee, but he also said, ‘The only way you can use the Plaza is if I’m in the movie’. So we agreed to put him in the movie, and when we screened it for the first time the oddest thing happened: People cheered when Trump showed up on-screen. So I said to my editor, ‘Leave him in the movie. It’s a moment for the audience.’ But he did bully his way into the movie.”
With “Home Alone” coming up again in talk over Christmas, that old quote resurfaced in an article over at Deadline a few days ago and started making the rounds. The chatter got back to Trump himself who responded on social media:
“Nothing could be further from the truth. That cameo helped make the movie a success. But if they felt bullied, or didn’t want me, why did they put me in, and keep me there for over 30 years?”
Trump reportedly goes on to say he was begged to appear, and was “very busy” at the time and “didn’t want to do it.” However the filmmakers were “persistent,” so he agreed.
“Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” was released in 1992 and, though not as big a success as its predecessor, did very well – pulling in $359 million from a $28 million budget.