Die Hard is an American action film series that originated with Roderick Thorp's novel Nothing Lasts Forever. All five films revolves around the main character of John McClane, a New York City/Los Angeles police detective who continually finds himself in the middle of violent crises and intrigues where he is the only hope against disaster. The films have grossed a combined $1.4 billion worldwide.
Desperate for work, Stuart was offered the job of adapting Thorp's novel into a screenplay. His finished draft was greenlit immediately by 20th Century Fox, who was eager for a big summer film for the following year. Finding a star proved difficult; the role of protagonist John McClane was offered to a host of the decade's top stars including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, all of whom turned it down. Willis, who was mainly known for his TV work, was not the studio's first choice. He was paid $5 million for the role, an unheard-of figure at the time. Filming began in November 1987 on a $25 million–$35 million budget. The script underwent changes throughout filming, including adding and changing scenes, and altering the ending. Die Hard was filmed almost entirely on location in and around Fox Plaza in Los Angeles.
Die Hard was considered a box office success on release, grossing between $139.8 million–$141.5 million and defying pre-release expectations that Willis' lack of star appeal would hurt the film's success. It was the tenth-highest-grossing film of 1988 and the highest-grossing action film. Reviews were mixed; criticism was levied at the violence, plot, and Willis' performance. Critics generally praised Rickman's performance as charismatic villain Hans Gruber. It received four Academy Awards nominations. The film is responsible for elevating Willis to film leading-man status and took Rickman from relative obscurity to celebrity.
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