A plane lands noisily on a tarmac and we cut to the cabin. A businessy-looking dude tells his seat partner—who happens to be Bruce Willis—how to deal with fear of flying: once you get where you're going, you take your shoes and socks off, walk around on the carpet, and make fists with your toes.
As the man played by Bruce Willis—whom we will henceforth refer to as John McClane—grabs his bag from the overhead, the businessman notices a gun on McClane's belt. "It's okay," he says, "I'm a cop."
Cut to a rather classy looking shindig at a swanky office. There's classical music playing, and a Japanese businessman makes a speech to the crowd of gathered corporate stooges.
He thanks them for a great year, and wishes them a Merry Christmas. As it turns out, it's Christmas Eve.
We learn this useful, scene-setting tidbit from Holly, who's looking very busy and important carrying a bunch of papers down a nearby hallway while the party parties on. She's being hit on by a smarmy, bearded dude named Harry. And she is not buying what he's selling.
As she walks into her office, she tells her pregnant secretary to go join the party.
Holly calls home. She's got two kiddos being watched over by a nanny—a young girl named Lucy and her little brother John (junior, we can only assume).
Lucy asks her mom, "Is Daddy coming home with you?" Holly dodges the question. She then asks her nanny whether Mr. McClane has called. No dice.