The day the internet forgot Home Alone had already been rebooted and recast

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For everyone getting upset about Home Alone being recast and rebooted: it’s not the first time this has happened to the franchise.

Today in the world of internet ire, politics is taking a temporary backseat to the news that Disney is rebooting the Home Alone movie franchise, for its upcoming Disney+ streaming platform.

The news had not gone down well.

You can read more on the proposed project in our news report here, but it strikes me that the internet has overlooked something in its rush to condemn the project: that the series has been recast before, and nobody seemed to give two hoots. What’s more, it was for a Disney network.

Back in 2002, the ABC network in the US broadcast the premiere of Home Alone 4, that’s a remake in all but name, as Kevin McCallister fights to defend his stepmother’s home from one of the original burglars, Marv. And also from Marv’s wife.

After a theatrically-released Home Alone 3 failed to ignite the box office without the original characters, the plan here was for a small screen production that brought many of them back. As such, the movie features Kevin, Marv, Kevin’s parents, Buzz and Megan. Thing is, all of the roles were recast.

There’s no Macaulay Culkin, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara, Devin Ratray and Hillary Wolf therefore. In their place came Mike Weinberg, French Stewart, Jason Beghe, Clare Carey, Gideon Jacobs and Chelsea Russo.

Here they are…

Furthermore, a new director was hired. The late Rod Daniel gave an interview late in his life where he declared “I hold no illusions… I don’t rank with the greats”, saying he made the films he did “because I could, and because they paid me a great deal of money”.

Somewhat unfairly, he said of his work that “I wouldn’t buy a ticket to any of my movies”, given that he made fun films such as K-9, The Super and Like Father, Like Son. But still, Home Alone 4 was not his finest hour.

He had a miniscule budget to work with, and the movie was shot in South Africa. It was shot at a hangar at Youngsfield Airbase in Cape Town, that was refurbished into a production facility. Home Alone 4 was its first customer.

On release, the film was savaged, and then forgotten, although it pops up as part of those boxsets that the completists amongst us buy, and then ignore half the films in them. Also on the ignore list is a further Home Alone entry, Home Alone: Home For The Holidays. This one scrubbed the original characters again, got on with its own retread, and was also promptly forgotten.

Here’s the trailer, to see what you missed out on…

There are, therefore, legitimate concerns about Disney+ just raiding and pillaging the back catalogues of Fox to reboot popular franchises. But in the case of Home Alone, I’d suggest saving the uproar. Childhoods weren’t ruined by the conveyor belt of poor sequels that followed the original movies, and they won’t be by whatever reboot Disney comes up with next.

Home Alone 4 is available on DVD and streaming. This has not been an advertisement for Home Alone 4.

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