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Plans for ''Die Hard 3''

Plans for ”Die Hard 3” — Following ”Under Siege”’s success, is the Bruce Willis vs. terrorism formula still fresh?

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After the wild success of Die Hard and Die Hard 2, a Die Hard 3 seemed like a natural. In fact, Twentieth Century Fox had a scenario planned. Tough cop Bruce Willis and plucky wife Bonnie Bedelia were going to foil a terrorist takeover on a Caribbean cruise. No more. Since Warner Bros. has grossed at least $50 million with Under Siege, in which Steven Seagal beats terrorists on a ship, Fox has scuttled its plot.

But Die Hard isn’t dead yet. According to Fox production chief Roger Birnbaum, ”Die Hard is an extremely powerful franchise, and we have every intention of continuing it.” With a new, yet-to-be-announced setting, Die Hard 3 is being written by director John Milius and producer Barry Beckerman, who aim to start shooting in May 1993. But at least one source close to the project questions the wisdom of making yet another sequel: ”How many times can the audience buy that (formula)?” he wonders. Other perils: the budget (which could run to $70 million plus) and Willis’ salary (less than the $17 million he has reportedly demanded, but still hefty). ”It just may be,” says the source, ”that the boat has sunk on Die Hard.” Meanwhile, plans for a Siege sequel are surging ahead.