John McClane Kicked Ass!

The history of the “Die Hard” music video by the “comic-rock” band Guyz Nite displays many of the complications posed by the sometimes competing, sometimes overlapping interests of fan culture and the movie studios. The video itself is a mildly funny musical homage to the Die Hard franchise (lyrics include “No one dies harder than John McClane/Even when his wife’s stuck on a plane”), illustrated with clips from the first three films, and once Fox discovered the video, they ordered that YouTube pull it down. But as Maria Aspan reports in the New York Times, with a fourth Die Hard movie set to come out, Fox has reconsidered, not only paying Guyz Nite to re-post the clip but also providing them with preview footage from the fourth film to incorporate into the video. The Guyz Nite band members were invited to show up to the film’s premiere, and their video may be included in the DVD for Live Free or Die Hard when it comes out.

As Aspan’s article points out, Fox initially sought to protect its intellectual property before recognizing the video’s promotional potential (the video has now been viewed well over 100,000 times). But she also discusses lead singer Jim Marsh’s concern that the band will be perceived as “selling out” by aligning itself with Fox as well as the potential concern that the video could lose credibility once the studio’s involvement in the video is revealed (Fox’s response: “Why should something that people enjoy be any less ‘cool’ because it is supported by a film studio?”).

The issue of “selling out” here does seem like a moot point to me, in part because the original lyrics are so clearly affirmative of the Die Hard franchise (and I’m more than happy for the band members to benefit from their labor), but more than anything, I was interested in Fox’s belated recognition that the song could be used to promote their product. I’m not a huge fan of the films–I love the first one, the others are utterly forgettable–but I hope that studios will recognize that this kind of work will most likely benefit them in terms of increasing interest and enthusiasm for their films (or TV shows or whatever).

Update: I forgot to mention that I found this link via the folks at The House Next Door.

Update 2 (7/5): I just oveheard a commercial for Die Hard using the Guyz Nite song, which is pretty amazing.

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