THE RETURN OF ROCKY BALBOA!!
I for one, AM FREAKING PUMPED!! I love Rocky – all Rocky’s (Ok 5 was bad! But…
ROCKY: “You knock him down. Why don’t you try knockin’ me down now?”
KANE: “Tommy Gunn only fights in the ring!”
ROCKY: “My ring’s outside!”
Anyway, Stallone, now 59, has done what I’ve always wanted – a return to Philly and to hear those words one more time…
…Rocky Balboa has shocked the world! (Click for music!)
Anyway, It’s gonna be real cool IMHO! I grew up loving Rocky, Paulie, Apollo and all of it. Maybe because it was so big in my youth, it’s just some inherent need to hold on to the past in some way, I don’t neccessarily have a problem with that really! I just don’t! I like to be inspired. I like to have that part of me pull for the underog – I like it. Rocky does that.
Cue “Eye of the Tiger”–
The film, simply titled Rocky Balboa, was announced Monday by Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios and original distributor MGM, which will team up to produce what a press release describes as a return to the style and grit of the 1976 franchise-launching original.
The story will pick up with Rocky retired and now a widower (no Adrian!), who, after resisting offers to return to the ring, reluctantly agrees to take on reigning world heavyweight champion Mason “The Line” Dixon.
“Rocky Balboa is about everybody who feels they want to participate in the race of life, rather than be a bystander,” the 59-year-old Stallone said in a statement. “You’re never too old to climb a mountain, if that’s your desire.”
Or relive the glory days.
The first Rocky introduced everyone’s favorite underdog, a blue-collar, journeyman puncher who goes a full 15 rounds with flamboyant champ Apollo Creed. Although Rocky eventually loses a decision, the film scored a knockout. It also established “Yo, Adrian!” as a national catchphrase, made Stallone a household name, scored nine Oscar nominations (Best Actor and Best Screenplay for Stallone, among them) and won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
While subsequent sequels descended into increasingly cartoonish formula, they too threw plenty of weight around at the box office.
Rocky II (Rocky takes title from Creed in rematch) tallied $85 million domestically in 1979, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com; 1982’s Rocky III (Rocky loses title to Mr. T, then regains it in rematch) slugged its way to $125 million domestically; and 1985’s Rocky IV (Rocky goes to Russia, battles steroid-crazed Commie boxer Dolph Lundgren), grossed $128 million.
Rocky V (1990), however, didn’t fare as well. That film, which saw Stallone’s alter ego come out of retirement and engage former protege Tommy Gunn (real-life boxer Tommy Morrison), grossed a meager $40 million domestically as audiences apparently grew tired with the chicken-chasing tomato can.
Stallone, who wrote all five Rocky movies and directed the second, third and fourth films, has been working on the script for the sixth go-round for some time now. He said he felt the time was right to slip on the gloves one last time given the currents going on in his own life, especially as an aging action star.
“I am drawing on a lot of my feelings that are in synch with many people’s feelings about facing the last chapter of their lives and how they want it to be written. Rocky goes through the skepticism of trying to go against the tide, to go against common sense,” the actor tells Daily Variety.
On the production end, Rocky Balboa will be mostly a family affair. Executive producing will be Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler, who oversaw the earlier Rocky pictures, while their sons, Charles and David Winkler and William Chartoff, will produce along with Kevin King.
With Talia Shire’s Adrian apparantly (NOT CONFIRMED!) down for the count, the only supporting cast members from previous entries making a return appearance will be Burt Young, who played her brother and Rocky pal, Paulie. Composer Bill Conti, who wrote Rocky’s famous anthem, “Gonna Fly Now,” is also on board.
Producers are reportedly talking with former heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr. to take on the part of Dixon.
Rocky isn’t the only muscle-bound hero Stallone is taking out of mothballs. He’s also breaking out the bandana for a fourth turn as Rambo. Stallone will also write that screenplay.
Rocky Balboa begins shooting in Philadelphia and Los Angeles in December, after which Stallone is slated to segue into production on Rambo IV.