Home   What's On   News   Article

Is Die Hard a Christmas film? KM Group cinema writer Mike Shaw gives his opinion

It's been dividing opinion among friends, family and work colleagues for 30 years - since 1988 - is Die Hard a Christmas film? Or is it just a film that mentions Christmas? The KM Group's cinema writer, Mike Shaw, joins the discussion... and so can you by taking our poll.

Is Die Hard a Christmas film?

It's a question that gets asked a lot around this time of the year.

Bruce Willis in Die Hard
Bruce Willis in Die Hard

Despite what cool people like us think (yes, it is), the public doesn't agree.

A YouGov poll of more than 5,000 UK adults asked the question: “Do you think that Die Hard is a Christmas film?”

Just 30% voted Yes. Pathetic.

A shocking 52% voted No with 18% cowards saying they don’t know.

Now perhaps you're thinking: "Maybe it's just us sensible Brits who shy away from Christmas-based action films?" but no.

Another poll conducted by the Hollywood Reporter found that only 25% agreed that it's a Christmas film. Among them, men were a little bit more likely to think so than women, with the highest group of cool people being those aged between 30 and 44.

Die Hard: Bruce Willis and Bonnie Bedelia
Die Hard: Bruce Willis and Bonnie Bedelia

Maybe it's time to give up the fight? The odds are stacked against us. But then...

The film is centred around a Christmas party. There are Christmas songs in the soundtrack (in one scene, Bruce Willis goes so far as to whistle Jingle Bells). Heck, John McClane is only in LA so he can see his wife and kids at Christmas.

And who can forget, "Now I have a machine gun ho-ho-ho". It even has Santa's catchphrase.

John McClane wouldn't back down, and nor will I. Die Hard isn't *a* Christmas movie, it's *the* Christmas movie!

Take our poll here:

More Christmas film news from Mike Shaw...

If you use Netflix, you'd have noticed how much of the content on there is made up of the company's home-grown products.

But have you ever wondered just how popular some of the Netflix Original films and series are?

You're not alone. Unfortunately, Netflix rarely releases viewership numbers, which makes it hard to judge the success of the streaming service's movies and TV shows (outside of easily-manipulated metrics like social media).

However, on occasion it does give us plebs a glimpse into its inner workings, which it what it has just done with it's new Christmas movie, The Christmas Chronicles.

The film, which stars Kurt Russell as Santa, was watched 20 million times in its first week.

That's a lot, and Netflix is doing its best to talk it up. The company's chief content officer, Ted Sarandos said last week that the film is the biggest of Kurt Russell's career, and that those views would equate to a $200m opening week if they were cinema ticket purchases.

There are a couple of things in those numbers that go for, and against, Netflix.

In its favour, is the point that 20 millions accounts watching it probably accounts for far more pairs of eyeballs, with adults watching it with kids and other family members. That beefs the number up considerably.

The Only Fools and Horses' Christmas episode in 1996 was watched by 24.35 million
The Only Fools and Horses' Christmas episode in 1996 was watched by 24.35 million

Going against it, however, is that we don't know how many of those views were due to repeat views from the same users. If my wife can watch The Princess Switch starring Vanessa Hudgens three times in a week (another Netflix Christmas movie), then I'm pretty confident kids can handle multiple viewings of The Christmas Chronicles.

And while it might make shareholders happy to say it equates to a $200 million opening week at the cinema, the reality is that if people actually had to go outside and pay to see this film, as opposed to clicking on it from the comfort of their sofa, it's highly unlikely to have made that much. In reality, it's the kind of film you'd think about paying £50+ for if you have a family of four, but ultimately decide "Nah, we'll just wait until it's on Netflix."

But...all things considered, 20 million is nothing to sniff at, and that number is only going to rise as schools break up and we get closer to the 25th.

It definitely makes me wonder if something like Disney's Christmas movie The Nutcracker and the Four Realms would have been better suited to its forthcoming Disney+ streaming service - where there is a lower commitment on the part of the consumer - rather than cinemas, where it has performed poorly.

Just to place those 20 million views in context a little more: the Christmas 1996 episode of Only Fools and Horses where Del and Rodney became millionaires was watched by 24.35 million people.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More