Falling Star: Macaulay Culkin
Career Pinnacle: In 1990, Culkin s lapped his hands on his cheeks and became a pint-size gold mine. The kid comedy Home Alone and its 1992 sequel raked in $826 million worldwide at the box office and upped his salary to $8 million a flick.
Recent Missteps: After a string of duds Getting Even With Dad, The Nutcracker, The Pagemaster Culkin was granted a stay when Richie Rich earned $23 million in two weeks, but adolescence makes a sequel unlikely.
Perceived Problem: His age. Now 14, Culkin is too old to play the cute-as-pie kid, but has yet to graduate to teen hunkdom.
Next Step: Culkin, who just left his longtime agency ICM for William Morris, is still mulling over what role to take next. According to agent Brian Gersh, a priority is to work with an A-list director: ''He would star in a kids' movie if it were directed by Francis Ford Coppola.''
Advice: Insiders say it's time for Mac to retire his munchkin persona. ''He should take a little time off,'' says John Shea, a children's agent at Frontier Booking International. ''Then he should take a good supporting part in a drama that will let him reestablish himself as a quality teen performer.''