Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?
Bruce Willis is credited for many great movies at the height of his career. He was best known for his blockbuster action films, notably the Die Hard series. Even if the series belonged to the action genre, did you know that it has been debated if it was also a Christmas movie?
The first Die Hard movie was screened in the summer of 1988 despite its Christmas setting. It was only shown in the summer because 20th Century Fox needed a summer blockbuster.
The History of Die Hard
Die Hard was based on a 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever. The novel was written by Roderick Thorp, who was inspired to write the book after he watched The Towering Inferno and dreamt of German terrorists taking over a Los Angeles office block.
The novel was loosely adapted for the big screen by screenwriters Steven E. de Souza, who also wrote Arnold Schwarzenneger’s Commando, and Jeb Stuart, an up-and-coming writer. The novel’s main character, Joe Leland, was a retired police officer in an unhappy divorce.
Thorp initially conceptualized the Leland character in his earlier novels, The Detective. It was adapted to the big screen in 1968, and Frank Sinatra portrayed Leland. Thorp’s idea of the protagonist when the 1979 novel was written was still in the image of Sinatra, who was then aging. (Source: Den of Geek)
Stuart, one of the writers, recalls having had difficulty writing the script for Die Hard. He was under considerable financial stress when Columbia dropped his script before its production. Stuart was left broke as he was still waiting to start with Walt Disney.
To add to that, the novel’s character didn’t fit the action hero they were planning on. Stuart felt that a character in his sixties would be willing and capable to be flexible in the action film like climbing up air conditioning vents and jumping burning fires.
Luckily, the writers were given creative freedom since the novel had the potential to be an action film. Stuart then had a eureka moment after an argument with his wife. While he was driving to work after he and his wife fought, he accidentally ran over a box on the road. Luckily the box was empty. He pulled over to the side of the road and recalled his heart was pounding so hard.
He then realized that what he needed was a younger character who was energetic and willing to do anything to apologize to his wife. Stuart soon wrote out the character John McClane. (Source: Variety)
How Did Die Hard Become a Christmas Movie?
The first film of the franchise being shown in the summer of 1988, the writers and director set the movie’s timing to Christmas. They also added a nice spin to the season. They made it snow in Los Angeles.
Throughout the years, the argument of whether Die Hard was a Christmas movie or not has been brought up during the holidays. Throughout the years, several networks and movie providers reported that many people watch Die Hard during the Christmas season.
In a 2016 statistic, Dish Newsroom found that 1.3 million viewers watched Die Hard on Christmas eve. Dish also reports that the numbers increased, with 2.4 million viewers watching the film during the holiday season. Die Hard was the 10th most-watched movie during the season, overtaking movies like Home Alone, The Santa Clause, and Miracle on 34th Street. (Source: IGN)