While the name Macaulay Culkin may have a British tinge to it, he was actually born in New York City. His major claim to fame, perhaps more than dating Mila Kunis for a while, is his role in the revered Christmas movie, “Home Alone.” He will turn 38 in August and currently has an estimated net worth of $15 million. How he achieved that total is interesting when you consider the big picture of Macaulay’s life.
Culkin’s famous appearance as a child star in the movie was not by accident. His father was a former Broadway actor, and he began to act in plays when he was just 4 years old. His talent was recognized by a number of TV roles, including a part in “The Equalizer” in 1988. From there he moved to being cast in a number of low paying, relatively unknown movies. His big screen debut came with the movie “Uncle Buck” in 1989 when he was just 9 years old.
“Home Alone” would be Culkin’s breakthrough movie and would not just catapult him to stardom, but to super-stardom in 1990. For his role as Kevin McAllister he was paid $100,000. That is not a lot of money by today’s standards and also cannot immediately explain his achieving a net worth of more than $15 million.
That $100,000 was a step up the financial ladder as it led to his first $1 million movie, “My Girl” just one year later. Unlike “Home Alone”, “My Girl” was a drama and demonstrated some of his other acting abilities. This only helped him to increase his star power – and earning power.
Next in line was the sequel to “Home Alone” – “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” For this he would see his income and net worth jump by more than $4.5 million, the amount he was paid for reprising his role as Kevin McAllister. The sequel was not nearly as profitable as the original, but Culkin was now a recognized, and marketable, commodity.
Even when he took on roles in movies that flopped, Culkin would cash in. One example of this was “Party Monster” in which he took in another $1 million but the movie was a yawner even though its soundtrack made the charts. He earned another $1 million in “Saved” which posted average box office results.
He broke out of his mediocrity by moving into the growing profession of doing voice overs. That started in 2005 when he took on a character in the Robot Chicken series. His estimated earnings for his 5 year commitment to the series is $1.6 million. He also has done product endorsement deals that have added about $350,000 to his total net worth.
You may be wondering how a child star who became wildly popular at the age of 9 only managed to amass a net worth of $15 million. A large part of it was personal problems and decisions. Increasing your coffers at the age of 10 can be stressful for the parents who were managing your earnings, and such was the case for Macaulay. The fighting got to the point where his parents separated and he eventually would become legally emancipated from both his parents. While legally there is a certain percentage of child actor earnings set to the side, it appears that his parents were indulging themselves with the difference.
A personal decision that likely cost him both personally and financially was getting married at the age of 18 to Rachel Miner. That marriage would end less than 4 years later. Later he would be seen dating Mila Kunis, but that was short lived, only complicating his personal and financial life.
In retrospect, being able to hold on to $15 million of his childhood fortune at age 37 is quite remarkable given his history. One thing that may be holding him back from adding to that total is his refusal to connect himself any longer as the face of the “Home Alone” franchise. Once said to be the most famous child actor since Shirley temple, his wealth has brought him a significant amount of independence, and he apparently wants to enjoy his freedom to do other things with his life.
His life may not be what we would expect it to be, but the question is whether you would be content with having a net worth of $15 million.