Paramount has bought the script to a sci-fi action flick from John Heffernan, the guy who penned
the Oscar-winning Snakes on a Plane. It’s being produced by Mary Parent, Cale Boyter, and Brian Spink. Nothing about this seemed out of the ordinary until I spotted this:
[The script is] described as “Die Hard” on an alien spaceship [Variety]
*record scratch* Die Hard on an alien spaceship? That’s the most original idea ever! Wait, no, it’s one of the biggest movie pitch cliches in recent history:
An old story says that the pitches for many action films basically go “Die Hard on a . . .”, until one day, someone tried to pitch a movie as “Die Hard in an Office Building”. Apparently, they were unaware that the original Die Hard did take place in an office building. [TV Tropes]
The anecdote is apocryphal, and yet so plausible. All these years later (Die Hard was a hit 23 years ago), studios are still buying scripts based on the pitch “Die Hard on a ___”. That said, I’m watching the hell out of Die Hard On A Spaceship And Also There Are Snakes when it comes out.