When I saw this ad on the side of the bus yesterday, I thought it was a brilliant act of vandalism and cursed my lack of a camera phone. As it turns out, it’s actually legitimate.

But it does underscore Fox’s difficult task in marketing a PG-13 Die Hard. Though I’m hardly representative of the average American moviegoer, I wonder how many people in the target audience for this film will see one of these ads and chuckle for the wrong reasons. Has the disappointment over the castrating of John McClane reached the mainstream? Do most people even care? Can I pad this story any further to justify posting the above image?

I’ve always held that Fox Marketing is at their best when selling shit (e.g. The Day After Tomorrow, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, AvP, etc.), so it’s not encouraging to see them knocking it out in support of Live Free or Die Nice and Easy. And while I’m enjoying Bruce Willis’s candid correspondence with his fans over at AICN (even though Stallone did it better), the fact that it seems like he was only compelled to do so in response to the dust-up over the PG-13 rating does not inspire confidence.

The conventional wisdom at the moment has LFoDNaE getting lost in the late June shuffle between Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer, Evan Almighty and Transformers. For the record, I subscribe to this notion like Ebony Male (which is to say I’ve been subscribing since 1983, thank you very much). We’ll see how it shakes out when the fourth go-’round for John McClane hits theaters on June 27th.