Creed II

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Creed II
Creed II poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteven Caple Jr.
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Juel Taylor
  • Sylvester Stallone
Story by
Based onCharacters
by Sylvester Stallone
Starring
Music byLudwig Göransson
CinematographyKramer Morgenthau
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release date
  • November 14, 2018 (2018-11-14) (Lincoln Center)
  • November 21, 2018 (2018-11-21) (United States)
Running time
130 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$50 million[3]
Box office$214.1 million[4]

Creed II is a 2018 American sports drama film directed by Steven Caple Jr. and written by Sylvester Stallone (who wrote all the scenes and dialogues with Rocky Balboa in both Creed films)[5] and Juel Taylor from a story by Sascha Penn and Cheo Hodari Coker. A sequel to 2015's Creed and the eighth installment in the Rocky film series, it stars Michael B. Jordan, Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu, Wood Harris and Phylicia Rashad. Creed writer-director Ryan Coogler serves as an executive producer on the film. The film follows a fight over 33 years in the making, as Adonis "Donnie" Creed meets a new adversary in the ring: Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago, the powerful athlete who took the life of Donnie's father Apollo Creed in 1985's Rocky IV.

A Creed sequel was confirmed in January 2016, but due to both Coogler and Jordan's involvement in Black Panther, the film was delayed, with Coogler ultimately being replaced by Caple. Stallone completed the script in July 2017 and announced Lundgren would be reprising his role as Drago, and filming began in Philadelphia in March 2018, lasting through June.

Creed II was released in North America by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer through their distribution joint venture with Annapurna Pictures (which was later rebranded as United Artists Releasing) and internationally by Warner Bros. Pictures on November 21, 2018. The film grossed $214 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances, character development, and Caple's direction, while noting its predictability.[6]

Plot[edit]

In 2018, three years after his loss to "Pretty" Ricky Conlan,[a] Adonis "Donnie" Creed has won six straight bouts, culminating in a victory over Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler to win the WBC World Heavyweight Championship. Now a worldwide star, Donnie proposes to his girlfriend, Bianca Taylor, who agrees to marry him. When Bianca suggests starting a new life together in Los Angeles, Donnie is reluctant to leave Philadelphia as it would mean leaving Rocky.

Ivan Drago, the former Soviet boxer who killed Donnie's father Apollo during a bout in 1985 before losing to Rocky Balboa, seeks an opportunity to regain glory. Assisted by promoter Buddy Marcelle, Ivan pits his son, Viktor Drago, against Donnie. When Rocky refuses to support Donnie's decision to accept Viktor's challenge, Donnie leaves for Los Angeles.

Donnie and Bianca settle down in a luxurious apartment in Los Angeles close to Donnie's adoptive mother and Apollo's widow, Mary Anne. As they adjust to their new life and prepare for the upcoming match, Bianca learns that she is pregnant. Donnie recruits Tony "Little Duke" Evers, son of his father's trainer and later Rocky's trainer, to start training him. Overwhelmed by his life’s recent developments, he rushes into the match and is badly injured. Viktor is disqualified for hitting Donnie while he is down, allowing Donnie to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. However, Viktor becomes extremely popular in Russia and wins a series of fights with top billing.

His body and ego shattered, Donnie becomes increasingly disconnected from Bianca. Mary Anne reaches out to Rocky, who reconciles with Donnie and agrees to train him for a rematch against Viktor, who is suffering torturous physical tests at Ivan's hands. Bianca gives birth to a daughter, Amara, and Rocky is named her godfather; however, Donnie and Bianca's fears are realized when Amara is born deaf, after inheriting it from her mother's progressive hearing disorder.

While Viktor taunts Donnie publicly, he faces constant pressure from his father behind the scenes, who enjoys the attentions of the media and various Russian delegates. At a state dinner, he and Ivan meet Ludmilla, his mother and Ivan's ex-wife, for the first time in several years after she abandoned them after Ivan’s loss to Rocky. Enraged at the sight of her, Viktor chastises Ivan for interacting with the people who cast them out in the first place. Meanwhile, Rocky and Little Duke retrain Donnie in a decrepit location in the California desert, focusing on fighting from within and training Donnie's body to absorb the heavy impact he will receive from Viktor in the ring.

In Moscow, the rematch is more balanced as a more controlled and focused Donnie exchanges equal blows with Viktor. Since Viktor is accustomed to winning by knockout, his fights have never lasted beyond the fourth round; Donnie uses this to his advantage and willingly endures a heavy beating from Viktor, even after his ribs are broken. In the tenth round, Donnie unleashes sequence after sequence of effective blows and knocks Viktor down twice. Ludmilla departs after the second knockdown, upsetting Viktor, and Ivan sees the truth of Viktor's earlier statements. An exhausted Viktor is cornered and receives multiple strikes without defending himself, but is unwilling to go down. Realizing that his son’s safety means more to him than acceptance from Russia’s elite, Ivan throws in the towel, forfeiting the fight to protect his son. He assures the distraught Viktor it is okay that he lost, and embraces him. As Bianca enters the ring to celebrate with Donnie and Little Duke, Rocky recuses himself, telling Donnie that "It's your time", and takes a seat to watch them from outside the ring.

Viktor and Ivan later train together back in Ukraine. Donnie visits Apollo's grave, where he makes peace with his deceased father and the burden of carrying on his legacy, as he and Bianca introduce his granddaughter, who is wearing a new set of hearing aids. Rocky travels to Vancouver to make peace with his own estranged son, Robert, and meets his grandson Logan for the first time, noting how much he looks like Adrian.

Cast[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • Michael B. Jordan as Adonis "Donnie" Creed: An underdog but talented heavyweight boxer, he is the son of world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. His real name is Adonis Johnson, but he fights as Adonis Creed.
  • Sylvester Stallone as Robert "Rocky" Balboa, Sr.: A two-time world heavyweight champion and Apollo's best friend and former rival who becomes Adonis's avuncular trainer and mentor. He owns and operates an Italian restaurant in Philadelphia named after his deceased wife, Adrian.
  • Tessa Thompson as Bianca: Adonis's girlfriend, who becomes his fiancée and the mother of his child. She is also a singer-songwriter with progressive hearing loss.
  • Phylicia Rashad as Mary Anne Creed: Apollo's widow and Adonis's stepmother, who takes in Adonis as a child following the death of Adonis' biological mother.
  • Wood Harris as Tony "Little Duke" Evers: One of Wheeler's trainers. His father, Tony "Duke" Evers, was a father-figure for Apollo as well as his trainer when Apollo became world heavyweight champion. He then became one of Rocky's trainers after Apollo's death. He trains Adonis for his fight with Viktor and later assists Rocky in training Adonis for his rematch with Viktor.
  • Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago: Russia's former prize champion boxer, who, with the secret use of steroids and advanced training, gained worldwide attention due to his brute strength that had not been seen before. Years prior, he killed Apollo Creed during an exhibition boxing match, and was later defeated by Rocky. Having been disgraced in Russia, he relocated to Ukraine to raise his son Viktor, whom he also trained to box.
  • Florian "Big Nasty" Munteanu as Viktor Drago: Ivan's son who is a burly and ruthless boxer, and Adonis's new rival.

Supporting cast[edit]

In addition, Robbie Johns appears briefly as Logan Balboa, Robert's son and Rocky's grandson. Archive footage of Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed is used throughout the film, with the actor's likeness also appearing through the use of photographs and murals.

Production[edit]

Development and writing[edit]

On January 5, 2016, Sylvester Stallone and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures CEO Gary Barber confirmed to Variety that a sequel to Creed was in development.[7] The 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.[8] 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."[9] It was revealed in April 2018 that Ventimiglia would have an appearance in the film.[10] On January 11, 2016, Barber revealed that Ryan Coogler would not be returning due to scheduling conflicts, because he was attached to Black Panther, though he would return as executive producer.[11] Michael B. Jordan's schedule ended up being delayed due to Black Panther, as he was starring in that film.[11] In July 2017, Stallone confirmed that he had completed the script for the sequel, and also revealed that Ivan Drago would be featured in the film.[12] In October 2017, it was announced that Stallone would direct and produce the film.[13] However, in December 2017, it was reported that Steven Caple Jr. would instead direct the film with Tessa Thompson confirmed to reprise her role of Bianca, Creed's love interest.[14] In January 2018, Romanian amateur boxer Florian Munteanu was cast in the film to play Drago's son with Dolph Lundgren set to reprise his role of Drago.[15] In March 2018, Russell Hornsby joined the cast while Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris, and Andre Ward were confirmed to reprise their roles from the prior film.[16]

Vince DiCola, composer of Rocky IV, was originally rumored to return to score the film, but stated in a Facebook post: "I would have loved to return, however that's just how Hollywood works. We don't always get what we want."

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began March 2018.[17][18] Filming occurred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the city's Port Richmond neighborhood,[19] and was completed on June 7, 2018.[20] Some scenes were filmed at the Grey Towers Castle at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania.[21]

Visual effects[edit]

The visual effects were provided by Zero VFX and Mr. X and Supervised by Eric Robinson, Dan Cayer and Crystal Dowd with the help of Crafty Apes.[22]

Music[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

Release[edit]

Theatrical[edit]

Creed II was released in the United States on November 21, 2018.[23] It premiered on November 14, 2018 at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.[24]

On December 21, 2018, it was announced the film would receive a January 4, 2019 release in China, the first Rocky film to ever receive a theatrical release in the country.[25]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Creed II grossed $115.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $98.4 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $214.1 million, against a production budget of $50 million.[4]

In the United States and Canada, Creed II was released alongside Ralph Breaks the Internet and Robin Hood, as well as the wide expansion of Green Book, and was projected to gross $44–54 million from 3,350 theaters in its five-day opening weekend.[26] The film made $11.6 million on its first day, including $3.7 million from Tuesday night previews (the second best pre-Thanksgiving total ever behind fellow release Ralph Breaks the Internet's $3.8 million and marking a 64% improvement over the first film's $1.4 million preview total). It went on to debut to $35.3 million in its opening weekend (a five-day total of $55.8 million), finishing second at the box office and marking the best Thanksgiving opening for a live-action film, besting Enchanted ($49.1 million) and Four Christmases ($46.1 million).[27] In its second and third weekends the film made $16.8 million and $10 million, finishing in third both times.[28][29] Over the five-day Christmas frame (its fifth week of release), the film passed the $109.7 million domestic total made by the first film.[30]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 84% based on 292 reviews, with an average rating of 6.88/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Creed II's adherence to franchise formula adds up to a sequel with few true surprises, but its time-tested generational themes still pack a solid punch."[31] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on reviews from 45 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[32] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, the same score earned by its predecessor, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 87% positive score and a 72% "definite recommend".[27]

Odie Henderson of RogerEbert.com gave the film three out of four stars, stating that "Creed II falls victim to the sins of sequelitis—it's bigger, louder and more grandiose than its predecessor—yet manages to right itself by not losing focus on the humanity of its central characters."[33] Owen Gleiberman of Variety called the film "rousing and effective" and wrote "Creed II has been made with heart and skill, and Jordan invests each moment with such fierce conviction that he makes it all seem like it matters. Even if it all mattered a notable notch more in Creed."[34] Eric Kohn of IndieWire gave the film a "B", praising Stallone's performance and saying: "Kramer Morgenthau's cinematography lacks the showy steadicam acrobatics of Creed, but the climactic battle between Adonis and Viktor still delivers a dazzling light show that dovetails right into the visceral mayhem of the battle, captured from so many angles some viewers may reel from the punches themselves."[35]

Future[edit]

When asked about plans for Creed III, Stallone stated that he would like Deontay Wilder to play the son of Clubber Lang, to which Jordan agreed if a sequel was made.[36][37] In February 2020, Zach Baylin was announced as the sequel's writer.[38] In October 2020, it was reported that, in addition to reprising his role of Adonis Creed, Michael B. Jordan would also direct Creed III. The film would serve as Jordan's directorial debut.[39][40]

In July 2019, it was announced that the Rocky franchise as a whole will continue with another mentor-student film à la Creed, set post-Creed II in which Rocky Balboa would befriend a young fighter who is also an illegal immigrant. Stallone stated: "Rocky meets a young, angry person who got stuck in this country when he comes to see his sister. He takes him into his life, and unbelievable adventures begin, and they wind up south of the border. It's very, very timely." In addition he announced the development of a Rocky prequel television series.[41]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As depicted in Creed (2015).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (November 26, 2018). "MGM Believes 'Creed II's Knockout Opening Weekend Sets Up Studio For Film-Slate Growth". Deadline. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  2. ^ "Creed II (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. November 14, 2018. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  3. ^ Sharf, Zack (September 27, 2018). "'Creed II' Director Steven Caple Jr. on Ryan Coogler's Advice and Directing a 'Rocky' Film After a Low-Budget Indie – Exclusive". IndieWire. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Creed II (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Ingolfsland, Jason (May 5, 2020). "How Sylvester Stallone Changed Creed I And II To Make It More 'Comfortable'". CinemaBlend. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  6. ^ Campbell, Christopher (November 18, 2018). "Creed II First Reviews: A Solid, if Predictable, Sequel". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  7. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin (January 5, 2016). "Sylvester Stallone Says 'Creed' Sequel Could Reunite Rocky and Apollo (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  8. ^ Friedman, Roger (January 4, 2016). "Oscar Favorite Sylvester Stallone Says "Creed II" Could Bring Back Rocky's Son". Showbiz 411. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  9. ^ Topel, Fred (August 3, 2013). "Exclusive: Milo Ventimiglia Ready for Creed Comeback". Crave. Archived from the original on September 28, 2017. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  10. ^ "Creed 2: Milo Ventimiglia — This Is Us — Returns and More from the Set — Philly Chit Chat". Archived from the original on September 22, 2018. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Setoodeh, Ramin (January 11, 2016). "'Creed' Sequel Aims for November 2017 Release (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  12. ^ Evry, Max (July 21, 2017). "Drago Confirmed for Creed II as Stallone Finishes Script". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  13. ^ Desta, Yohana. "He's Back: Sylvester Stallone Will Direct Creed 2". HWD. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  14. ^ Kroll, Justin (December 11, 2017). "Steven Caple Jr. to Direct 'Creed 2' Starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  15. ^ Sneider, Jeff (January 15, 2018). ""Creed 2": Florian "Big Nasty" Munteanu to Play Dolph Lundgren's Son and Michael B. Jordan's Opponent (Exclusive)". The Tracking Board. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  16. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (April 2, 2018). "Russell Hornsby Joins 'Creed II'; Melvin Gregg Cast In 'High Flying Bird'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  17. ^ "'Creed II' filming at the Art Museum: Dolph Lundgren spotted - Philly".
  18. ^ "Creed 2 Starts Filming as First Set Photos Emerge". March 16, 2018.
  19. ^ Mondon, Marielle (April 3, 2018). "Don't freak out but Michael B. Jordan is training at this local gym". PhillyVoice. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  20. ^ "That's a wrap on Philly". Creed. June 7, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2018 – via Twitter.
  21. ^ "Lights, camera, action, yo! 🎬 The cast and crew of #Creed2 stopped by Grey Towers Castle to film this week. We have a few movie tickets set aside for the most clever responses to our fill-in-the-blank challenge: "If 'Rocky' was set at Arcadia, _____."". Arcadia. May 13, 2018. Retrieved May 13, 2018..
  22. ^ "CREED 2 - The Art of VFXThe Art of VFX". www.artofvfx.com. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  23. ^ Trumbore, Dave. "'Creed 2' Release Date Confirmed for Late November 2018". Collider. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  24. ^ "GALLERY: Creed II stars light up the red carpet at New York City premiere". The Grio. November 15, 2018. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  25. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 21, 2018). "'Creed II' Sets China Release Date; First 'Rocky' Saga Pic To Weigh In Theatrically". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  26. ^ "Box Office Preview: 'Ralph Breaks the Internet' to Win Holidayate=November 20, 2018". Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  27. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 25, 2018). "'Ralph' Scoring 2nd Best Thanksgiving Debut With $84M+; 'Creed II' $55M+ Live-Action Champ; 'Robin Hood' Goes Wrong At $14M+". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  28. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 2, 2018). "Ralph' Breaking $25M+ 2nd Weekend; 'Grinch' Steals $203M+; 'Hannah Grace' $6M+ In Slow Post Thanksgiving Period – Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  29. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 9, 2018). "'Ralph' Keeps No. 1 Away From Greedy 'Grinch' For Third Weekend In A Row With $16M+ – Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  30. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 26, 2018). "'Aquaman' Unwraps $22M+ On Christmas For $105M+ Cume; 'Holmes & Watson' Opens To $6M+; 'Vice' $4M+". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  31. ^ "Creed II (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  32. ^ "Creed II reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  33. ^ Henderson, Odie. "Creed II Movie Review & Film Summary (2018) | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  34. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (November 16, 2018). "Film Review: 'Creed II'". Variety Magazine. Penske Media. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  35. ^ Kohn, Eric (November 16, 2018). "'Creed II' Review: Michael B. Jordan Rules Another Satisfying 'Rocky' Update". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  36. ^ "MICHAEL B. JORDAN CLUBBER LANG'S SON IN 'CREED 3? ... I Like It!". TMZ Sports.
  37. ^ "Sylvester Stallone says Deontay Wilder could play Clubber Lang's son in Creed III". CBS Sports.
  38. ^ Galuppo, Mia (February 25, 2020). "'Creed 3' Taps 'King Richard' Writer (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  39. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (October 24, 2020). "Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting To See 007 Film 'No Time To Die' On Streamer As Cursory Talks Died Quickly". Deadline. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  40. ^ Gemmill, Allie (October 24, 2020). "Michael B. Jordan to Make Directorial Debut With 'Creed 3' in Addition to Starring". Collider. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  41. ^ "Sylvester Stallone Feels Robbed of an Ownership Stake in 'Rocky': 'I Was Furious'". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2019.

External links[edit]