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Die Hard 4.0’s Box-office Survival

Posted July. 12, 2007 03:28,   


Let’s take a close look at the domestic box office records of Hollywood blockbuster sequels that have opened in Korea one after another. The box office takings of sequel movies whose originals were made after 2000 are impressive. For instance, Spider Man 3 and Pirates of The Caribbean: At World`s End, whose originals were released in 2002 and 2003 respectively, broke sequel box-office records, drawing more than five million people nationwide. Meanwhile, Hollywood sequels, whose originals were made in the 1980s or 1990s, have performed very badly at the box office. For example, Rocky Balboa, starring 61-year-old Sylvester Stallone, attracted only 220,000 moviegoers when it opened in theaters this year; and Basic Instinct 2, starring 49-year-old Sharon Stone, also did badly at the Korean box office last year, attracting only 350,000 moviegoers. One may argue that there are exceptions, citing Star Wars Episode 3 (2005) as an example, after 1.85 million people saw it in Korea. However, it’s important to note that the Star Wars series changed the entire main cast from Star Wars Episode 1 (1999). In other words, Korean fans warmly welcome sequels, but not old leading actors.

In that sense, it will be particularly challenging for Die Hard 4.0, starring 52-year-old Bruce Willis, to attract more than three million moviegoers. Die Hard 4.0 which is expected to hit theaters on July 17 will have to compete with the Transformers movie which has already drawn more than four million viewers in just two weeks. Moreover, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix whose original was made in the 2000s is also set to hit theaters next week.

However, you must not overlook the incredible ability of detective John McClane. Although he always places himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, he never backs down; he is known for surviving against all odds. This time, Director Len Wiseman, who has demonstrated his directorial prowess in the Underworld series, transformed the Die Hard series into a digilog action film blending digital technologies seamlessly with analogue sentiments.

In the new series, McClane faces a conspiracy by genius hacker Thomas Gabriel who knocks out traffic and communication systems, as well as power, across the U.S. Although he is not computer savvy, McClane drives the digital genius into a corner with his three secret weapons; a body covered in cuts, unflinching guts and witty remarks.

The film displays amazing computer graphic effects as well, including the scene where the U.S. Capitol is blown up, while veteran actor McClane shows off the quintessence of analogue action films by hiding in-between three flying automobiles and blowing up a chopper by driving a car into it.

Although McClane is an old fogey who listens to forgotten rock music of the 1970s, watches TV news under any circumstances, and is also a frustrated father who puts work before his family, the film portrays him as a hero who never compromises when it comes to justice.

Die Hard 4.0 may not enjoy as great a box office success as its first installment, but it may do better than its two sequels. All previous Die Hard movies took either first or second in the Korean box office charts. The box office success of Die Hard 4.0 will depend on how much respect the digital generation will show to the hero of the analogue generation.