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Grey-haired cool rules!

Good news for Bruce Willis fans, as his latest Die Hard instalment has roared back with a vengeance in the North American box office.

The 20th Century Fox action thriller "Live Free or Die Hard" has grossed US$48.2 million since its opening last Wednesday - a whopping Bt1.662 billion.

The figure should make Willis fans smile as many had thought that it would be impossible to resurrect the franchise of the ageing star, whose last sequel "Die Hard With a Vengeance" was released in 1995.

After all, cop John McClane might have lost all his hair and some of his speed while he's chasing the bad guys. But his fans still packed theatres to watch "Die Hard 4.0". The experience was described by a CNN film critic as "a reacquaintance with an old friend".

To give you the picture, my sister is in her mid-40s and I forget what was the last movie she'd gone to see. But she said she really wanted to see Bruce Willis in this movie because she remembered the joy she felt when she saw the early films, especially the original "Die Hard" that was released 22 years ago.

Perhaps the producers of the film understood the needs of this slice of demography. The 35-and-over customer base is growing fast and they really want something to connect to. They might also check out "Spy Kids", only because they had to bring their kids to the theatre. But their hearts still belong to the Die Hard generation.

In Thailand, this grey-haired trend is also obvious in big sales of golden-oldie music. That's why you see the re-production of so many 80s and 90s tunes.

Music executive Nadda Buranasiri said recently that, in fact, music lovers aged 35 and over form a solid fan base for record sales these days.

The young generation tend to copy individual new songs they like from the Internet instead of buying the whole record.

But older customers have strong loyalty to their favourite artists. Not only will they will buy the entire album, but any new production of the same artists they used to buy when they were younger. That's why the trend of 80s music is coming back strong. Among the best-selling records recently was a new Rod Stewart collection.

The lesson learned from Bruce Willis is that it's not so bad to be a "ginger" star - even if he now moves at a snail's pace. And, yes, his mission to save the world is always cool.



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