Valentine’s Day is usually reserved for roses and pillow talk, not action movies. Maybe that’s one reason why movie critics have pretty much declared “A Good Day to Die Hard” dead on arrival.
Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan called it an uninspired mess that sees Bruce Willis going through the motions in this fifth installment of the 25-year-old “Die Hard” franchise. The Wrap asked: “Does Bruce Willis still have it?” The Associated Press called the movie “pointless and joyless.”
But don’t count John McClane out just yet. Movie industry analysts say “A Good Day to Die Hard” could bring in up to $55 million at the box office in its first five days.
Bruce Nash, president of Nash Information Services, a movie industry research company, stopped short of calling the movie “critic proof.”
But he told Hero Complex that most moviegoers will be drawn to the film this weekend — or not — by social media. “This film is going to be driven by word of mouth,” he said. “People are looking for what their friends are saying on Facebook more than what the critics are saying.”
Critics and social media aside, “A Good Day to Die Hard” is taking a risk by landing in theaters for Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend, Nash said. “A Good Day to Die Hard” will have to do battle for box-office dollars with the romantic drama “Safe Haven” and “Beautiful Creatures,” a Southern-set witch tale.
“I think it’s a risk,” Nash said of the decision to release the “Die Hard” film on Valentine’s Day. “I don’t think it’s a crazy idea to try some counter-programming, but it’s definitely a risk. I can’t think of any other [action genre] movie opening up on Feb. 14 before.”
All that said, there remains this red flag: Only 12% of Rotten Tomatoes users gave the film a positive review as of early Thursday afternoon, as compared with 48% for “Beautiful Creatures.”
Not an issue at all: Willis’ controversial statements on gun control. “I don’t think that has an impact on the outcome,” Nash said. “A lot of people just aren’t tuned into that, the people who are looking for an entertaining movie aren’t too worked up about that debate.”
What do you think about this box-office showdown? Will Willis prove he still has what it takes? Are you going to see “A Good Day to Die Hard” this weekend?
— Rene Lynch