We’re back with one more battle between Christmas movies before the holiday rolls around. This week, I’m comparing a pair of sequels: “Home Alone 2” and “The Santa Clause 2.”
A big problem with sequels is too many of them just recycle the plot of the first film. That’s the biggest knock on “Home Alone 2.” It moves from Chicago to New York, but the Wet Bandits are still thieves. They are robbing a toy store instead of burglarizing homes. Kevin leads them to his uncle’s house that’s under renovation instead of his own house of horrors. While some of the traps are different, some are just re-imagined versions of the first film’s traps. Kevin even uses the sequel the film he was watching in the first “Home Alone” to play trick the hotel workers where he’s staying. In “The Santa Clause 2,” the plot is different. Instead of Scott Calvin replacing Santa Claus and accepting his new identity, now he’s looking for Mrs. Claus so he can remain Santa. It’s not original, but at least it’s different. Point to “The Santa Clause 2.”
Home Alone 2: 0 | The Santa Clause 2: 1
2. NEW CHARACTERS
“Home Alone 2” provides three new antagonists for Kevin. The concierge, desk clerk and bellman at the Plaza Hotel become suspicious of Kevin and eventually discover he’s using a credit card that’s been reported as stolen. They are far from a formidable threat, but they provide a nice diversion from Harry and Marv. Also, the Pigeon Lady and Mr. Duncan fill the roles left behind by Old Man Marley. These characters help the film feel a little different given the fact the plot is the same. Meanwhile, “The Santa Clause 2” adds in a love interest in Principal Newman, who is at odds with Charlie when the film begins. There are also new elves introduced because the kids who played the elves in the first film had grown up. The new characters add more to “Home Alone 2” Point to it.
Home Alone 2: 1 | The Santa Clause 2: 1
3. BOX OFFICE
While the box office totals don’t always represent a film’s quality, it does give an idea about the film’s popularity. “Home Alone 2,” released in 1992, made $359 million dollars worldwide. In comparison, “The Santa Clause 2” was released 10 years later in 2002, but only made $173 million dollars. Even before factoring in inflation, that’s a clear win and point for “Home Alone 2.”
Home Alone 2: 2 | The Santa Clause 2: 1
4. CRITICAL RESPONSE
Critics, on the review site Rotten Tomatoes, didn’t give either of these films rave review. “Home Alone 2” only received a 33% approval rating with most calling it a lesser version of the first film. “The Santa Clause 2” fared slightly better at 56%. Critics said it has charm but is also predictable. Point to “The Santa Clause 2.”
Home Alone 2: 2 | The Santa Clause 2: 2
5. VIEWER RESPONSE
In contrast to critic response, viewers held a more favorable view of “Home Alone 2.” 61% of viewers using Rotten Tomatoes liked “Home Alone 2.” “The Santa Clause 2” doesn’t fare as well. While 56% of critics liked it, only 41% of viewers liked it. Point to “Home Alone 2.”
Home Alone 2: 3 | The Santa Clause 2
“Home Alone 2” takes this battle, but it was a close fight between the pair of sequels. I remember watching both of these films in theaters and liking “Home Alone 2” better. I’ve seen them both on TV since, and I still favor “Home Alone 2.” But, which do you think is better?