Here’s what data says about the ‘Die Hard’ as a Christmas movie debate

While Bruce Willis says 'no,' the numbers don't lie

For the extremely online set, few debates have proved as divisive as the one that presides over whether or not the 1988 action film, Die Hard, is a Christmas movie. While the discourse surrounding things like ‘is a hot dog a sandwich’ has effectively faded, discussion over Die Hard‘s place in the Christmas movie sphere rages on every December.

While the film’s star, Bruce Willis, has stated that it is NOT a Christmas movie, film researcher Stephen Follows has taken an extensive dive into data to help determine where the classic action flick stands in the Christmas movie canon.

Follows examined multiple data points within creative, commercial, and cultural frameworks for the purpose of his study. Follows looked at the creators’ intent, Christmas references in the film, Google trends, online film community references and data surrounding Christmas movies, release dates, and much, much more.

The study’s conclusion leans heavily on popular opinion, ostensibly determining that Die Hard is a Christmas film, despite its July 1988 release date and traditional action movie marketing campaign.

“The neatest summary I can provide is to say that there are many Christmas elements in the movie,” Follows writes. “Although the studio did not intend it to be a Christmas movie, some of the film’s key creators did. Either way, it’s certainly fair to say that Die Hard is regarded as a Christmas movie in popular culture.”

This debate won’t be going away anytime soon.