Creed (film)

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Creed
Creed poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRyan Coogler
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story byRyan Coogler
Based onCharacters
by Sylvester Stallone
Starring
Music byLudwig Göransson
CinematographyMaryse Alberti
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
Running time
133 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$35–40 million[2][3]
Box office$173.6 million[2]

Creed is a 2015 American sports drama film directed by Ryan Coogler from a story by Coogler and a screenplay written by Coogler, Aaron Covington, and Sylvester Stallone who wrote all the scenes and dialogues with his character in the film.[4] Both a sequel and spin-off to the Rocky franchise,[5][6][7] serving as the seventh installment of the series and a sequel to 2006's Rocky Balboa, Michael B. Jordan stars as Adonis "Donnie" Johnson Creed, Apollo Creed's son, with Sylvester Stallone reprising the role of Rocky Balboa. It also features Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Tony Bellew, and Graham McTavish. The film reunites Jordan with 2013's Fruitvale Station writer-director Coogler, as well as Wood Harris, with whom Jordan had worked on the television series The Wire.

Principal photography began in Liverpool on January 19, 2015, and later moved on to Philadelphia and Gainesville, Florida, concluding on April 3, 2015.

Creed was released in the United States on November 25, 2015, the 40th anniversary of the date of the opening scene in 1976's Rocky. The film received critical acclaim, with praise directed at the performances (particularly those of Jordan and Stallone), Coogler's direction and the screenplay, with many also praising it for sticking to its predecessors' roots. It was also a commercial success, grossing more than $173.6 million worldwide against its $35-40 million production budget.

It was chosen by National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2015. For his performance, Stallone was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, his first Academy Award nomination since the original film. He also won the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor, Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor, and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture.

A sequel, titled Creed II, was released in November 2018, to critical and commercial success.

Plot[edit]

In 1998, Adonis "Donnie" Johnson, the son of former heavyweight champion Apollo Creed and his extramarital lover, is serving time in a Los Angeles youth detention center when Creed's widow, Mary Anne, visits and offers to take him in. In 2015, Donnie is in Tijuana, preparing for his fight in an amateur boxing bout hosted in a bar. Upon returning from his latest fight, Donnie resigns from the Smith Boardley Financial Group to pursue his dream of becoming a professional boxer. Donnie auditions at Los Angeles' elite Delphi Boxing Academy, managed by family friend Tony "Little Duke" Evers Jr., the son of Apollo's trainer Tony "Duke" Evers, but is turned down. This rejection is further emphasized as Donnie is beaten in a sparring match by light heavyweight division first contender Danny "The Stuntman" Wheeler after he publicly challenges the whole gym to prove himself by betting to give away his 1965 Ford Mustang. Mary Anne vehemently opposes his aspirations, remembering how her husband was killed in the ring by Ivan Drago thirty years ago.[a] Undaunted, Donnie travels to Philadelphia in hopes of getting in touch with his father's old friend and rival, former heavyweight champion, Rocky Balboa.

Donnie meets Rocky at Rocky's Italian restaurant, Adrian's, named in honor of his deceased wife, and asks Rocky to become his trainer. Rocky is reluctant to return to boxing, having already made a one-off comeback[b] at a very advanced age despite having suffered brain trauma[c] during his career as a fighter. However, he eventually agrees. Donnie asks him about the "secret third fight" between him and Apollo just after Apollo helped Rocky regain the heavyweight title,[d] and Rocky reveals that Apollo won. Donnie trains at the Front Street Gym, with several of Rocky's longtime friends as cornermen. He also finds a love interest in Bianca, an up-and-coming singer and songwriter.

Donnie, fighting under his biological mother's surname, Johnson, and the fight name "Hollywood", defeats local fighter Leo "The Lion" Sporino, which upsets the opposing corner. This leads to the opposing side leaking the news that Donnie is Creed's illegitimate son. Rocky receives a call from the handlers of world light heavyweight champion "Pretty" Ricky Conlan, who is being forced into retirement by an impending prison term. He offers to make Donnie his final challenger—provided that he legally change his surname to Creed. Donnie balks at first, wanting to forge his own legacy. However, he eventually agrees.

While helping Donnie train, Rocky is diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He is unwilling to undergo chemotherapy, remembering that it was not enough to save Adrian when she had ovarian cancer. His diagnosis and the fact that his best friend and brother-in-law Paulie Pennino—Adrian's brother—has now died in addition to Adrian, Apollo, and his old trainer, Mickey Goldmill, further force him to confront his own mortality. Seeing Rocky shaken, Donnie urges him to seek treatment.

Donnie fights Conlan at Goodison Park in Conlan's hometown of Liverpool, and many parallels emerge between the bout that ensues and Apollo and Rocky's first fight[e] forty years earlier. First, before entering the ring, Donnie receives a present from Mary Anne — new American flag trunks similar to the ones Apollo and later Rocky wore. Additionally, to the surprise of nearly everyone, Donnie gives Conlan all he can handle. Conlan knocks Donnie down, but Donnie recovers to knock Conlan down for the first time in his career. Donnie goes the distance, but Conlan wins on a split decision. However, Donnie has won the respect of Conlan and the crowd; as Max Kellerman puts it while calling the fight for HBO, "Ricky Conlan won the fight, but Adonis Creed won the night." Conlan tells Donnie that he is the future of the light heavyweight division.

The film ends with Donnie and a frail but improving Rocky climbing the 72 steps outside the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Cast[edit]

A number of figures (real-life fighters and trainers) from boxing play in the film:

Liev Schreiber voices an HBO 24/7 announcer, while Michael Buffer cameos as himself serving as ring announcer. Other sports media personalities who appear include ESPN's Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon, Hannah Storm, and Max Kellerman, and HBO Sports' boxing announcer Jim Lampley.

Archive footage of Carl Weathers' Apollo Creed is used throughout the film.

Production[edit]

Development and writing[edit]

Stallone, Thompson, and Jordan promoting the film atop the Rocky Steps in November 2015.

On July 24, 2013, it was announced that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures had signed on with Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler to direct a spin-off of Rocky, a seventh film in the Rocky series, which Coogler would also co-write with Aaron Covington.[14] Sylvester Stallone also worked on the screenplay for the seventh film.[15][16][17] The film would focus on a man following in the footsteps of his late father, Apollo Creed, and getting a mentor in the now-retired Rocky Balboa. Michael B. Jordan was set for the role of Creed's son, Adonis "Donnie" Creed,[18] and Stallone was set to reprise his character of Rocky.[14] Original producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff would produce, along with Stallone and Kevin King-Templeton.[14] On April 25, 2014, while talking to THR, Coogler stated that he had sent his latest draft to the studio, and confirmed the involvement of Jordan and Stallone.[8]

Pre-production[edit]

On November 10, real-life boxers Tony Bellew and Andre Ward joined the film, with Bellew to play a fighter, "Pretty" Ricky Conlan, the main opponent for Creed. Shooting was set to begin in January 2015, in Las Vegas and Philadelphia.[11] On December 16, Tessa Thompson was added to the cast as the female lead.[19] On January 8, 2015, Phylicia Rashad reportedly joined the film to play Mary Anne Creed, Apollo's widow. Sylvia Meals, who portrayed Mrs. Creed in Rocky II and Rocky IV had died in 2011.[10] On January 21, Graham McTavish tweeted about his involvement in the film.[12]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began on January 19, 2015 on location at Goodison Park, with the first scene shot taking place during a Barclays Premier League football match between Everton (of which Stallone and native Evertonian Bellew are fans) and West Bromwich Albion.[20][21] Goodison would later host both the climactic film fight between Donnie and Conlan and also Bellew's real-life title fight against Ilunga Makabu in May 2016, which was the first outdoor boxing match in Liverpool since 1949.

Filming also took place in Philadelphia.[22] In early February, an empty store in Philadelphia was converted into a boxing gym, where some training scenes were shot.[23][24]

On February 13, the crew was spotted filming in the Victor Cafe in South Philadelphia.[25] The cafe was transformed into the "Adrian's Restaurant", and crew were again spotted filming there on February 16.[26] Stallone and Jordan were also spotted on the set of the film on February 18.[27] From February 24–27 and then on March 3, filming took place at Sun Center Studios in Aston Township.[28]

Music[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

The musical score for Creed was written by Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson, who is only the third composer in the history of the Rocky series, following Bill Conti (Rocky, II, III, V, and Balboa) and Vince DiCola (Rocky IV). Creed also features a soundtrack that consists mostly of music new to the series, including hip hop tracks by artists such as Future, Meek Mill, and White Dave.[29] Both a score and a soundtrack album were released on November 20, 2015 by WaterTower Music and Atlantic Records, respectively.[30] One tribute to Conti's original soundtrack is included – the track "You're a Creed" uses both "Gonna Fly Now" and "Going the Distance".

Release[edit]

Theatrical[edit]

On February 3, 2015, Warner Bros. slated the film to be released domestically on November 25, 2015.[31] This date coincides with the 40th anniversary of the opening scene in the original film, where Rocky fights Spider Rico.[32]

Piracy[edit]

On December 20, 2015, screeners of numerous prospective awards contenders, including Creed, were uploaded to torrent sites. The FBI has linked the case to co-CEO Andrew Kosove of Alcon Entertainment. Kosove claimed that he had "never seen this DVD", and that "it never touched his hands".[33]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Creed grossed $109.8 million in North America and $63.8 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $173.6 million, against a budget of $35 million.[2]

In North America, Creed opened on Wednesday, November 25, 2015, alongside The Good Dinosaur and Victor Frankenstein, as well as the expanding wide releases of Brooklyn, Spotlight and Trumbo. The film was originally projected to gross $35 million from 3,404 theaters in its first five days, including $20 million in its opening weekend.[34] However, after grossing $1.4 million from its Tuesday night previews (a record for a Thanksgiving week release) and $6 million on its opening day, five-day projections were increased to $39–42 million. The film ended up grossing $42.6 million in its first five days, including $30.1 million in its opening weekend, finishing third at the box office.[35]

Critical response[edit]

The Los Angeles Times reported that the film received "early critical raves".[36] On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 95% based on 306 reviews, with an average rating of 8.01/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Creed brings the Rocky franchise off the mat for a surprisingly effective seventh round that extends the boxer's saga in interesting new directions while staying true to its classic predecessors' roots."[37] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 82 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[38] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an overall positive score of 85%.[35]

A.V. Wire's Herman Dhaliwal gave the film a very positive review, writing, "I will say the film was everything I could have ever wanted and then some. It's a film that could have gone so wrong in so many ways so easily, but the results show something that is genuine and inspired. It takes the smartest possible routes with the story it wants to tell and delivers in basically every way it needed to. Ryan Coogler cements himself as one of the best rising filmmakers working today, as he crafts an emotional, funny, compelling and uplifting film that is full of strong performances."[39] Andrew Barker of Variety stated that the film lives up to the expectation of its predecessors, while forging its own unique path. He also appreciated the performances of Stallone and Jordan, saying that Stallone deserved credit for taking a chance on young director Coogler, and that his trust had paid off. He concluded that the director "offered a smart, kinetic, exhilaratingly well-crafted piece of mainstream filmmaking".[40] IGN reviewer John Lasser gave the film an 8.5 out of 10, saying, "Creed is a mirror of Rocky's story and we have all been watching that unfold on the big screen for decades. Coogler's film does nothing to break the mold. Rather, it shows that the mold exists for a reason. Jordan delivers a knockout performance, and Stallone does as well. In the end, we can all only hope that we'll get to see Adonis on screen for just as long as we've seen Rocky."[41]

The screenplay was ranked the 22nd best American screenplay of the 21st century in IndieWire, with Zack Sharf writing, "Not only does the script manage to tell an authentic origin story of the young and determined Adonis Creed, but it also finds an authentic way to revive Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky and make him the emotional lynchpin of Adonis’ rise to champion boxer."[42]

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Nominated [43]
African-American Film Critics Association Best Director Ryan Coogler Won
Best Supporting Actress Tessa Thompson Won
Breakout Performance Michael B. Jordan Won
Top Ten Films Won
Austin Film Critics Association Best Actor Michael B. Jordan Nominated [44][45][46]
Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Won
Boston Online Film Critics Association Boston Online Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor Michael B. Jordan Won
Boston Online Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Won
Ten Best Films of the Year Won
Boston Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Runner-up
Best Original Score Ludwig Göransson Runner-up
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Nominated [47]
Critic's Choice Awards Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Won [48]
Empire Awards Best Actor Michael B. Jordan Nominated [49]
Best Director Ryan Coogler Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Won [50]
Golden Raspberry Awards The Razzie Redeemer Award Sylvester Stallone Won
Houston Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Nominated [51]
Indiana Film Journalists Association Best Film Nominated
Best Director Ryan Coogler Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Nominated
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Nominated [52]
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Best Picture Nominated [53]
Best Director Ryan Coogler Nominated
Best Actor Michael B. Jordan Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association New Generation Award Ryan Coogler Won
MTV Movie Awards Movie of the Year Nominated [54]
Best Male Performance Michael B. Jordan Nominated
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Motion Picture Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Michael B. Jordan Won
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Phylicia Rashad Won
Tessa Thompson Nominated
Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture Ryan Coogler Won
Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington Won
National Board of Review Top Ten Films Won [55]
Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Won
National Society of Film Critics Best Actor Michael B. Jordan Won [56]
New York Film Critics Online Best Director Ryan Coogler Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Best Actor Michael B. Jordan Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Nominated
Phoenix Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Won [57]
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Nominated [58]
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Nominated [59]
Southeastern Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Won [60]
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Won [61]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Drama Nominated [62]
Choice Movie Actor: Drama Michael B. Jordan Nominated
Choice Movie Actress: Drama Tessa Thompson Nominated
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Nominated [63]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone Nominated

Sequel[edit]

In January 2016, Sylvester Stallone and MGM CEO Gary Barber confirmed that a sequel to Creed was in development.[64] That same month, Stallone posed the possibility of seeing Milo Ventimiglia appear in the sequel, reprising his role as Rocky's son Robert Balboa from Rocky Balboa. Ventimiglia previously revealed during the development of Creed that he was open to returning to the franchise, stating, "I'll tell you what, if they invited me, I'd love to be there. If they didn't, I wouldn't be offended."[65]

Also that month, it was reported that the sequel's release was tentatively set for November 2017, although it was later pushed back to an unconfirmed date.[66][67][68][69] Development was seemingly delayed by the announcement Coogler had cast Michael B. Jordan in his next film, Marvel's Black Panther, thus delaying production until both men's schedules permitted.[70]

A confrontation between Adonis "Donnie" Creed and Ivan Drago was hinted at on Instagram.[71] Stallone later confirmed that he had finished writing the script for the sequel, which would see Dolph Lundgren reprising his role as Ivan Drago from Rocky IV.[72] By October 2017, Stallone stated on his social media page that he would direct the film,[73] however, by December of the same year, Steven Caple Jr. was announced as the director of Creed II.[74] Boxer Florian Munteanu was cast as Drago's son.[75] In an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jordan confirmed that Creed II was his next project.[76]

Video game[edit]

Creed: Rise to Glory – Released in 2018

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As depicted in Rocky IV (1985).
  2. ^ As depicted in Rocky Balboa (2006).
  3. ^ As depicted in Rocky V (1990).
  4. ^ As depicted in Rocky III (1982).
  5. ^ As depicted in Rocky (1976).

References[edit]

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