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The actual title for Violent Night was Die Hard With Santa.

In “Violent Night,” a bunch of criminals seek to raid the house of an affluent family, and it is up to Santa Claus (David Harbour) to prevent this home invasion from ruining Christmas Day for the family’s children. In October of 2022, Universal Pictures debuted an extended teaser for “Violent Night,” which prompted similarities to previous Christmas films.

Beverly D’Angelo portrays Gertrude, the affluent matriarch of the Lightstone family and owner of the mansion that serves as the principal setting of the film. D’Angelo linked her “Violent Night” and “Christmas Vacation” roles, stating that Gertrude in “Violent Night” resembles Ellen from “Christmas Vacation” under different circumstances.

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However, the film most commonly likened to “Violent Night” is “Die Hard,” as it confronts a brilliant man against an invading horde. In fact, these analogies are so prevalent that while promoting “Violent Night,” Harbour commented on whether or not “Die Hard” is a Christmas film.

In addition, a biography of screenwriters Pat Casey and Josh Miller published in the lead-up to the film’s release revealed that “Violent Night” was first envisaged as a Die Hard parody with Santa Claus as the protagonist before any other aspects of the production were finalized.


Die Hard was in Violent Night’s DNA from the beginning

A few days before the theatrical premiere of “Violent Night,” Entertainment Weekly included a profile with the film’s screenwriters, Pat Casey and Josh Miller, in which they described the origins of the picture.

Die Hard was in Violent Night's DNA from the beginning

The first major Hollywood achievement for Casey and Miller was securing a job writing the first “Sonic the Hedgehog” film. Casey and Miller determined their next project just prior to the February 2020 release of “Sonic,” in light of their newfound success. Miller explained, “We offered what we believed to be our greatest ideas to our agents and managers, and each of them had their preferences.”

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During that encounter, the team suggested a concept for a film similar to “Die Hard” but starring Santa Claus instead of John McClane (Bruce Willis). Miller recalled, “We had recently been discussing what we referred to at the time as ‘Die Hard Santa’; it wasn’t even developed enough to have a title.” “We casually suggested it, and they all unanimously said, ‘That’s the one!'”

It turns out that the countless viewers who have likened “Violent Night” to “Die Hard” are accurate, considering that “Die Hard” served as the major point of reference when Casey and Miller conceived the film’s basic idea more than two years before its December 2, 2022 release.

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