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‘Die Hard’ Is Ending the Christmas Movie Debate With Its 35th Anniversary Return to Theaters

Yippee-Ki-Yay! and Ho! Ho! Ho!

A white man with cuts on his face crawls through a vent in 'Die Hard.'

The ongoing debate over whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not has finally ended. Die Hard will return to theaters to celebrate its 35th anniversary in the month it should have been released.

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When Die Hard first hit theaters on July 22, 1988, no one thought it would go anywhere. Although the studio wanted a big summer blockbuster, expectations were low. Many didn’t believe Bruce Willis could pull off being an action star since he had mainly done romantic comedies on television. Some of the press materials for the movie didn’t even feature him. An actor, Alan Rickman, who had never graced the silver screen played the villain, Hans Gruber. The movie didn’t have star power, but the studio banked on the appeal of a 40-story building blowing up.

Since its release, many consider Die Hard to be one of the best action films ever made. It turned Willis into an action hero. Rickman became a beloved actor. It spawned 4 sequels and a few video games. This movie changed lives.

As the movie takes place on Christmas Eve—at the Nakatomi Corporation’s Christmas party, to be precise—many consider it a Christmas movie. Those people would be correct. I watch it every Christmas Eve to get into the holiday spirit. Some don’t think it’s a Christmas movie because it is mainly a dude fighting terrorists and came out in July, but it is a Christmas movie. If it wasn’t a Christmas movie, then why would they put “Christmas in Hollis” by RUN-D.M.C. in there?

Die Hard for Christmas

As the movie came out in 1988, it’s now celebrating its 35th year. 20th Century Studios didn’t bring Die Hard back to theaters in July to honor the momentous anniversary. No, the studio is correcting the past by bringing it back in the month it was made for, December—just in time to watch it before the Christmas holiday arrives.

Die Hard will be back in theaters starting December 8. It will play in both AMC and Cinemark Theatres for a week, or possibly longer. Tickets are already on sale through Fandango. It’s a historic moment for this classic Christmas movie to be in theaters during the holiday season like it was meant to be seen.

(featured image: 20th Century Studios)

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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.

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