“I knew they couldn’t do movie without me”: Daniel Stern Turned Down $800,000 For Home Alone 2 After Learning the Truth About Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci’s Lucrative Salary

Initially offered a low salary for Home Alone 2, Daniel Stern compared his offer with his co-stars' and decided to seek his deserving amount.

Daniel Stern, Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci
Credits: Lady Lotus / Wikimedia Commons


  • After starring alongside Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci in Home Alone, Daniel Stern returned to reprise his role in Home Alone 2.
  • However, Stern was initially getting underpaid, while his costars made a lucrative salary for their popularity in Hollywood.
  • Realizing his costars’ significant salary, Daniel Stern courageously demanded $1.5M for his return in Home Alone 2.
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Turning into a cultural phenomenon following its release in 1990, the Home Alone franchise thereafter became the universal theme for the holiday season. Further, appearing in memes and other forms of media, the franchise became a huge box-office success. And certainly, the credit goes to its iconic cast, including Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern.

Joe Pesci, Macaulay Culkin and Daniel Stern in Home Alone
Joe Pesci, Macaulay Culkin, and Daniel Stern in Home Alone (1990) | 20th Century Fox

However, despite demonstrating its enduring popularity through generations and making staggering profits during every year’s holiday season, Daniel Stern revealed a dark reality about the films. Recalling how he was stripped of his deserving salary, despite his co-stars getting eye-watering amounts, Stern mentioned how he had to fight with producers for his demands.

Home Alone 2 Producers Initially Low-Balled Daniel Stern

In a surprising revelation, Daniel Stern, the actor who played Marv Murchins in the iconic Home Alone franchise, disclosed in his memoir how he had to fight with producers to get his deserving payment in Home Alone 2. Despite the first movie becoming a monster hit to everyone’s surprise, when Home Alone returned for another installment, Stern mentioned getting paid a lot less than his co-stars.


Daniel Stern cited in his memoir (via DailyMail), how Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci were bagging millions, thanks to their popularity in Hollywood, while he was struggling to get his deserving salary for the second installment. Culkin had already turned into one of Hollywood’s biggest stars after the first film, and Pesci was also a superstar following Raging Bull, Lethal Weapon 2, and Goodfellas.

Daniel Stern as Marv Murchins in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) | 20th Century Fox
Daniel Stern as Marv Murchins in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) | 20th Century Fox

Therefore, Macaulay Culkin was getting paid $5M for Home Alone 2, alongside receiving 5% of the movie’s profits, while Joe Pesci earned somewhere between $2-$3M alongside a percentage of the profits. Unfortunately, when it came to Daniel Stern, the actor revealed that 20th Century Fox offered him merely $600,000 for the sequel.

Daniel Stern Had to Fight for His Deserving Salary

However, Daniel Stern revealed in his memoir how he had to stand his ground and not accept the deal, which would have stripped him of his deserved salary as well as the film’s profits. But surprisingly, in his attempt to do so, the actor had to get rid of his agent, who tried convincing him to accept the mere deal, while his co-stars were earning a lucrative salary.


The actor thus admitted that asking for more money was the “prideful thing to do” while concluding that if his agent wanted to take the first offer, “then he wasn’t very good at his job”. Therefore, after firing his agent, Daniel Stern decided to represent himself in front of Fox Studios and ask for more. The Studio eventually agreed and decided to offer him a total of $800,000.

Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York | 20th Century Fox
Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York | 20th Century Fox

Nonetheless, realizing that it was way less than what Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci were getting for reprising their roles, Daniel Stern decided to get at least half of what Pesci was being paid. Therefore, the actor demanded $1.5M and 2% of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York‘s profits. Although Fox eventually agreed to pay him the $1.5M, they negotiated on a 1% profit.

I knew they couldn’t do the movie without me, but I was also insecure since I almost blew it the first time… I didn’t want to be too greedy when I loved the movie and the part so much.

home alone-2
Macaulay Culkin in a still from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York | 20th Century Fox

Admitting that it was a bit rookie of him to ask $1.5M after getting offered $800,000, Daniel Stern claimed to be worried about missing out on making the deal, as well as the film. However, knowing deep in his heart that Fox couldn’t proceed without him, Stern mentioned taking the step and eventually getting what he deserved.


Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York are available on Prime Video. 


Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Articles Published: 1614

Krittika is a News Writer at FandomWire with 2 years of prior experience in lifestyle and web content writing. With her previous works available on HubPages and Medium, she has woven over 1500 stories with us, about fan-favorite actors, movies, and shows. Post-graduate in Journalism and Honors-graduate in English Literature, when this art enthusiast isn't crafting your next favorite article, she finds her escapism in coffee, fiction, and the Wizarding World.