Troubled 'Die Hard' Director Still Makes Big Bucks on His Old Flicks, but Can't Keep Any

Josh Wolk
Executive Editor, Entertainment
May 29, 2014

The new issue of The Hollywood Reporter shines a light on the finances of famed action director John McTiernan, the man behind such guns-and-grunts classics as Die Hards 1 and 3, Predator, The Hunt for Red October and, uh, Medicine Man. The 63-year-old director recently served 10 months in prison for lying to federal officials during their long-running FBI investigation into Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano. Out of prison since February, he has declared bankruptcy and owes millions in legal fees and tax debt, and has a $10 million ranch facing foreclosure.

But here’s an interesting fact uncovered in THR’s examination of his finances: McTiernan still receives a staggering $235,000 a year in residuals. (That’s enough to pay the yearly rent on at least three floors of Nakatomi Plaza!) All that and he hasn’t made a new movie since the 2003 bomb Basic — and his last decent hit was 1999’s The Thomas Crown Affair. Wow, those basic-cable Die Hard: With a Vengeance reruns really add up.

However, that annual sum is hardly enough to keep him solvent. His lawyers told a judge that he was eagerly diving back into new, unspecified projects. But in the meantime, he’s holding an estate sale this July on his endangered Wyoming property, where he plans to sell art, heirlooms and movie collectibles. Swing by early to grab Bonnie Bedelia’s wristwatch, before it slips away.

Photo: Everett Collection