Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Rocky Balboa is Back!
A sixth installment of the Academy Award-winning Rocky series was announced this week. As a fan of the Rocky movies, I was thrilled, but it came as little surprise to me. Here's why. Earlier this year, Sony (who a few years ago went to court with MGM/UA over the rights to the James Bond film series, and lost) simply bought MGM/UA, and essentially bought with it, two franchises that studio owned: James Bond and Rocky. So it's not a shock that the studio would want to fast-track its two most recognizable brands as quickly as possible. Just prior to the announcement of a sixth Rocky, the studio sent minor shock waves through the industry with its choice of blond-haired English actor Daniel Craig to replace Pierce Brosnan as the next James Bond in the upcoming Casino Royale. Then, hot on the heels of that announcement came the news that they would green light the next Rocky. It will have been 16 years since Rocky V and 30 years since the series began, before the latest installment, entitled Rocky Balboa will hit the screens. Sylvester Stallone, who created, wrote and starred in the Rocky series (as well as directing three of the five films), has been trying for years now to get a sixth film made. Earlier this year, as Sony was preparing to buy MGM/UA, Stallone launched is own health and fitness lifestyle magazine, Sly and began publishing excerpts from his unproduced sixth Rocky script in it. The timing was great. Heightened public awareness (due to Stallone's Sly marketing move) combined with Sony's purchase of MGM/UA, opened the door to the latest sequel. Word has it that the film opens with Rocky a widower (whether Talia Shire will return is still unclear), living in Philadelphia, and down on his luck. An opportunity arises for Rocky to return to the ring, and when word gets out, a media frenzy ensues. Will this truly be the final chapter of the series? One wonders. Having just obtained the franchise, will Sony let it end at one new feature? Regardless, I will be there on opening night, ticket in hand to see number six.