One quick part of the film takes place at a McDonald's (located in Industry, California, a restaurant used for background sets only) where Eric and Mac, disguised as a teddy bear, hide from the law. Ronald McDonald appears at a little girl's birthday party, entertaining the guests showing magic tricks by pulling a set of colored hankies out of a hat. When Eric arrives, Ronald politely greets him saying "Hiya coach, how's it going?" He then compliments the teddy bear (Mac) he holds in his hand before wandering off in another part of the restaurant. Ronald is seen one last time when the kids and teens start dancing, and even puts his hand on a little boy's shoulder, showing them the dancing children.
Mac and Me grossed $6,424,112 in the United States against a budget of $13,000,000. Mac and Me had a profit-sharing arrangement with Ronald McDonald Children's Charities.
The film was heavily criticized for the similarity of its plot, characters, and even the design of the alien, to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. It was further criticized for its numerous and blatant product placements, including Coca-Cola and Skittles (the only food the alien eats), Sears (where the boy's mother works), and pervasive promotion of McDonald's. The contrivance of the character being called "Mysterious Alien Creature" to be abbreviated as "MAC", a five-minute dance number in a McDonald's franchise featuring Ronald McDonald, and the use of the restaurant mascot to introduce the film's theatrical trailer, led Leonard Maltin to call the film "more like a TV commercial than a movie". The distinguishing feature of the protagonist using a wheelchair – without that being the focus of the story – received mixed reactions. At Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 0% rating, with the consensus saying that "Mac and Me is duly infamous: not only is it a pale imitation of E.T., it's also a thinly-veiled feature length commercial for McDonald's and Coca-Cola." The film ends with a freeze frame and the words "We'll be back!" superimposed, but after bad reviews and poor box office returns, the planned sequel was shelved.
Awards and nominations
- 1988 Golden Raspberry Awards
- Worst New Star (Ronald McDonald)
- Worst Director (Stewart Raffill)
- Worst Picture (R.J. Louis) (nominated; lost to Cocktail)
- Worst Screenplay (Stewart Raffill and Steve Feke) (nominated; lost to Heywood Gould for Cocktail)
- 1988 Young Artist Awards
- Best Family Motion Picture: Animation or Fantasy (nominated; lost to Beetlejuice)
- Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture: Comedy or Fantasy (Jade Calegory) (nominated; lost to The Two Coreys: Corey Feldman and Corey Haim for License to Drive)
- Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture: Comedy or Fantasy (Tina Caspary) (nominated; lost to Mayim Bialik in Beaches)
- Best Leading Young Actress in a Feature Film (Lauren Stanley) (nominated; lost to Mayim Bialik in Beaches)