The Karate Kid (franchise)
|The Karate Kid|
|Created by||Robert Mark Kamen|
|Original work||The Karate Kid (1984)|
|Owned by||Columbia Pictures|
(Sony Pictures Entertainment)
|Films and television|
|Television series||Cobra Kai (2018–present)|
|Animated series||The Karate Kid (1989)|
|Character(s)||List of characters|
The Karate Kid is an American martial arts drama multi-media franchise, created by screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen and produced by Columbia Pictures. The series follows the journey of various coming-of-age teenagers who are forced to stand up for themselves after being pushed around by bullies, usually their own age. They are aided by a mentor who teaches them martial arts so they can take on their rivals, or prove their worth in a tournament.
The original film series began as a tetralogy, starting with the release of The Karate Kid (1984), after the success of which three sequels were produced: The Karate Kid Part II (1986), The Karate Kid Part III (1989). A fourth film, The Next Karate Kid, was released in 1994.
Starting in 2018, Cobra Kai has been a critically acclaimed follow-up series set within the same universe (three decades later) of the original films of the 1980s and 1990s, and featuring members of the original cast. While directly based on Kamen's characters, this series was created by three new writers: Josh Heald; Jon Hurwitz; and Hayden Schlossberg.
An animated series, as well as tie-in video games among other pieces of merchandise, have also been released alongside the films.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Producer(s)|
|The Karate Kid||June 22, 1984||John G. Avildsen||Robert Mark Kamen||Jerry Weintraub|
|The Karate Kid Part II||June 20, 1986|
|The Karate Kid Part III||June 30, 1989|
|The Next Karate Kid||September 9, 1994||Christopher Cain||Mark Lee|
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Producer(s)|
|The Karate Kid||June 11, 2010||Harald Zwart||Christopher Murphey||Jerry Weintraub, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith,|
James Lassiter and Ken Stovitz
|The Karate Kid|
|Produced by||Jerry Weintraub|
|Written by||Robert Mark Kamen|
|Music by||Bill Conti|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
The Karate Kid (1984)
Daniel LaRusso and his mother have just moved to Reseda, Los Angeles from Newark, New Jersey at the start of the school year. Befriending classmate Ali Mills, he comes into conflict with Ali's ex-boyfriend and star pupil of the "Cobra Kai" dojo Johnny Lawrence and his gang. After being beaten up by the Cobra Kai gang in an after-school fight, Daniel finds an unlikely friend and karate sensei in his apartment complex's handyman, Mr. Miyagi, a proficient karate master. Making a deal with Johnny's merciless sensei, John Kreese, to end the fighting, Miyagi trains Daniel to compete at the All-Valley Karate Tournament.
The Karate Kid Part II (1986)
Immediately following the All-Valley Karate Tournament, Johnny is attacked by his furious sensei, John Kreese, in the parking lot. Mr. Miyagi intervenes, rescuing Johnny and passively humiliating Kreese in the process. Six months later, Miyagi receives a letter about his ailing father and plans to return to his home village on Okinawa Island. With Daniel in town, Miyagi's past catches up with him as an old rivalry with a former friend is reignited.
The Karate Kid Part III (1989)
Six months after the 1984 All-Valley Karate Tournament, a down-and-out John Kreese visits his Vietnam War comrade, rich businessman Terry Silver. Silver sends Kreese on vacation to Tahiti, promising to re-establish the Cobra Kai dojo and get revenge on Daniel and Mr. Miyagi. Meanwhile, Daniel and Miyagi have returned home from Okinawa to find Daniel's apartment building being demolished and his mother back in New Jersey taking care of a sick relative; Miyagi invites Daniel to stay with him. When Miyagi refuses to train Daniel to defend his title at the tournament, Daniel happens across Silver who offers to train him Cobra Kai-style.
The Next Karate Kid (1994)
Attending a commemorative service in Boston, Massachusetts for the Japanese-American soldiers who fought in the 442nd Infantry Regiment in World War II, Mr. Miyagi reacquaints with Louisa Pierce, the widow of his commanding officer. Louisa introduces him to her rebellious teenage granddaughter Julie, whose anger issues – resulting from her parents' deaths – make life difficult for Louisa. Offering to help, Miyagi sends Louisa to his home in Los Angeles for respite while he works to mentor Julie. Julie initially rebuffs Miyagi's help, but warms to him after coming into conflict with the leader of her school's shady security fraternity, Ned.
The Karate Kid (2010)
|The Karate Kid (2010)|
|Directed by||Harald Zwart|
|Based on||The Karate Kid|
by Robert Mark Kamen
|Music by||James Horner|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$359.1 million|
Dre Parker and his mother move from Detroit to Beijing after she transfers jobs. He befriends Meiying, a young musician who goes to his school, but draws the unwanted attention of Cheng, a kung fu prodigy whose family is close to Meiying's. Cheng and his friends relentlessly bully Dre at school to keep him away from Meiying, resulting in a fight on a school field trip where Dre is beaten up before being saved by his apartment building's maintenance man, Mr. Han. After failing to end the bullying by talking with Cheng's ruthless kung fu teacher, Mr. Han agrees to train Dre to compete at an upcoming kung fu tournament.
In a 2021 interview with Slashfilm, the writers of Cobra Kai stated that they will not be using characters from the 2010 remake, as they are not a part of the "Miyagi-verse": "We’ve ruled that out completely. Jackie Chan is mentioned in season 1 of the show as a human, so I think in our world, Jackie Chan is an actor and a performer. If the characters on our show have seen a movie called The Karate Kid, they’ve seen that one."
Live action TV series
|First released||Last released||Network|
|Cobra Kai||1||10||May 2, 2018||YouTube Red||Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg|
|2||10||April 24, 2019||YouTube Premium|
|3||10||January 1, 2021||Netflix|
Cobra Kai (2018–present)
34 years after the 1984 All-Valley Karate Tournament, a down-and-out Johnny Lawrence has just lost his job. After getting arrested for rescuing his teenage neighbour Miguel Diaz from a group of bullies, then getting cut-loose by his step-father, Johnny agrees to teach Miguel karate and reopens the Cobra Kai dojo, attracting social outcasts who build their self-confidence under his aggressive tutelage. Meanwhile, Daniel LaRusso owns a successful chain of car dealerships but struggles to keep a balanced life without the guidance of his now-deceased mentor, Mr. Miyagi. Johnny's estranged son, Robby Keene, comes under Daniel's wing – initially not knowing Robby's parentage – giving Robby a job at his car dealership and mentoring him with Miyagi's life lessons. Daniel and Johnny come into conflict after Cobra Kai's return is made public, while Daniel's daughter Samantha gets caught in the middle.
According to Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg, only the characters from the original four films The Karate Kid (1984), The Karate Kid Part II (1986), The Karate Kid Part III (1989), The Next Karate Kid (1994) comprise the Miyagi-verse that shapes Cobra Kai.
Animated television series
|First released||Last released||Network|
|The Karate Kid||1||13||September 9, 1989||December 16, 1989||NBC||Larry Houston|
The Karate Kid (1989)
A miniature shrine with mystical properties has been stolen from its resting place in Okinawa; Daniel and Miyagi are tasked with locating it and returning it home. Joined by Taki Tamurai, the group searches the globe on a series of adventures to keep the shrine out of dangerous hands.
With regard to Cobra Kai, executive producer and co-creator Jon Hurwitz stated that "The Karate Kid cartoon is not canon. But there is an Easter Egg from it in Season 3," in response to the question as to whether, "the Karate Kid animated series [is] official within The Karate Kid universe?" The Easter Egg was "the Miyagi-Do shrine, briefly seen at Chozen Toguchi's dojo in Okinawa halfway through the season. The artifacts were recovered by Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi in the short-lived Karate Kid animated series, which ran for thirteen episodes in 1989."
- An A indicates an appearance through pre-recorded material.
- A C indicates a cameo appearance.
- An F indicates a performer stood in as a character's body-double for fight sequences.
- A P indicates an appearance through a photographic still.
- A U indicates the actor or actress was uncredited for their role.
- A V indicates a performance through voice-work.
- A Y indicates an actor or actress portrayed a younger version of their character.
|Character||Original series||Animated series||Remake||Television series||Video game|
|The Karate Kid||The Karate Kid Part II||The Karate Kid Part III||The Next Karate Kid||The Karate Kid||The Karate Kid||Cobra Kai||Cobra Kai:|
The Karate Kid Saga Continues
|Season 1||Season 2||Season 3|
|Daniel LaRusso||Ralph Macchio||Joey DedioV||Ralph Macchio||Ralph MacchioV|
|Mr. Miyagi||Noriyuki "Pat" Morita||Noriyuki "Pat" Morita||Noriyuki "Pat" Morita||Robert ItoV||Noriyuki "Pat" MoritaA|
|Fumio DemuraF||Fumio DemuraF||Noriyuki "Pat" MoritaV|
|John Kreese||Martin Kove||Martin Kove||Martin Kove||Brent MukaiV|
|John "Johnny" Lawrence||William Zabka||William ZabkaA||William Zabka||William Zabka||William ZabkaV|
|Owen D. StoneY|
|Ali Mills||Elisabeth Shue||Elisabeth ShueA||Elisabeth ShueA||Elisabeth Shue|
|Lucille LaRusso||Randee Heller||Randee HellerA||Randee HellerC||Randee Heller||Randee HellerA|
|Bobby Brown||Ron Thomas||Ron ThomasA||Ron ThomasA||Ron Thomas|
|Tommy||Rob Garrison||Rob GarrisonA||Rob GarrisonA||Rob Garrison||Rob GarrisonP|
|Dutch||Chad McQueen||Chad McQueenA||Chad McQueenA|
|Jimmy||Tony O'Dell||Tony O'DellA||Tony O'DellA||Tony O'Dell|
|Mrs. Mills||Sharon Spelman||Deborah May|
|Freddy Fernandez||Israel Juarbe||Israel JurabeA|
|Mrs. Milo||Frances Bay||Frances BayC|
|Sato Toguchi||Danny Kamekona||Danny KamekonaA|
|Chozen Toguchi||Yuji Okumoto||Yuji OkumotoA||Yuji Okumoto|
|Kumiko||Tamlyn Tomita||Tamlyn TomitaA||Tamlyn Tomita|
|Yukie||Nobu McCarthy||Nobu McCarthyA|
|Yuna||Traci Toguchi||Traci Toguchi|
|Miyagi's Father||Charlie Tanimoto|
|Terry Silver||Thomas Ian Griffith||Thomas Ian GriffithA||Nick Marini|
|Thomas Ian GriffithA|
|Mike Barnes||Sean Kanan||Sean KananP||Sean KananA|
|Jessica Andrews||Robyn Lively||Robyn LivelyA|
|Dennis||Christopher Paul Ford|
|Julie Pierce||Hilary Swank|
|Louisa Pierce||Constance Towers|
|Ned Randall||Michael Cavelieri|
|Eric McGowen||Chris Conrad|
|Colonel Paul Dugan||Michael Ironside|
|Angel the Hawk||Frank WelkerV|
|Taki Tamurai||Janice KawayeV|
|Dre Parker||Jaden Smith|
|Mr. Han||Jackie Chan|
|Sherry Parker||Taraji P. Henson|
|Master Li||Rongguang Yu|
|Miguel Diaz||Xolo Maridueña||Joe ZiejaV|
|Samantha "Sam" LaRusso||Mary Mouser||Mary Mouser||Valerie Rose LohmanV|
|Robert "Robby" Keene||Tanner Buchanan||Spencer GreeneV|
|Amanda LaRusso||Courtney Henggeler||Valerie Rose LohmanV|
|Eli "Hawk" Moskowitz||Jacob Bertrand||Jacob BertrandV|
|Demetri||Gianni Decenzo||Gianni DecenzoV|
|Carmen Diaz||Vanessa Rubio||Appeared|
|Anthony LaRusso||Griffin Santopietro|
|Rosa Diaz||Rose Bianco|
|Bert||Owen Morgan||Brent MukaiV|
|Shannon Keene||Diora Baird|
|Armand Zarkarian||Ken Davitian||Jas PatrickV|
|Aisha Robinson||Nichole Brown|
|Sid Weinberg||Ed Asner||Ed Asner||Jas PatrickV|
|Yasmine||Annalisa Cochrane||Annalisa Cochrane||Tara SandsV|
|Kyler||Joe Seo||Joe Seo|
|Tory Nichols||Peyton List||Jessica RauV|
|Raymond "Stingray"||Paul Walter Hauser|
The Karate Kid is a semi-autobiographical story based on the life of its screenwriter, Robert Mark Kamen. At age 17, after the 1964 New York World's Fair, Kamen was beaten up by a gang of bullies. He thus began to study martial arts in order to defend himself. Kamen was unhappy with his first teacher who taught martial arts as a tool for violence and revenge. So he moved on to study Okinawan Gōjū-ryū karate under a Japanese teacher who did not speak English, but was himself a student of Chōjun Miyagi.
As a Hollywood screenwriter, Kamen was mentored by Frank Price who told him that producer Jerry Weintraub had optioned a news article about the young child of a single mother who had earned a black belt to defend himself against the neighborhood bullies. Kamen then combined his own life story with the news article and used both to create the screenplay for The Karate Kid. Additionally, given John G. Avildsen's involvement with both films, Sylvester Stallone often joked with Kamen that the writer had "ripped off" the Rocky films with The Karate Kid.
Box office performance
|Film||Release date||Box office gross||Budget||Ref|
|United States and Canada||Other territories||Worldwide|
|The Karate Kid (1984)||June 22, 1984||$100,400,529[a]||?||$300,442,786[b]||$8 million|||
|The Karate Kid Part II||June 20, 1986||$115,103,979||?||$13 million|||
|The Karate Kid Part III||June 30, 1989||$38,956,288||?||$12.5 million|||
|The Next Karate Kid||September 9, 1994||$8,914,777||$7,100,000||$16,014,777||$12 million|||
|The Karate Kid (2010)||June 11, 2010||$176,591,618||$182,534,404||$359,126,022||$40 million|||
Critical and public response
|The Karate Kid (1984)||89% (44 reviews)||60 (15 reviews)||N/A|
|The Karate Kid Part II||45% (31 reviews)||55 (9 reviews)||A–|
|The Karate Kid Part III||15% (33 reviews)||36 (12 reviews)||B–|
|The Next Karate Kid||7% (27 reviews)||36 (15 reviews)||B+|
|The Karate Kid (2010)||66% (210 reviews)||61 (37 reviews)||A|
|Cobra Kai: Season 1||100% (48 reviews)||72 (11 reviews)||N/A|
|Cobra Kai: Season 2||90% (30 reviews)||66 (7 reviews)||N/A|
|Cobra Kai: Season 3||90% (49 reviews)||71 (14 reviews)||N/A|
The 2007 music video for the song "Sweep the Leg" by No More Kings stars William Zabka (who also directed the video) as a caricature of himself and features references to The Karate Kid, including cameo appearances by Zabka's former Karate Kid co-stars.
Macchio and Zabka made a guest appearance as themselves in the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Bro Mitzvah". In the episode, Macchio is invited to Barney Stinson's bachelor party, leading to Barney shouting that he hates Macchio and that Johnny was the real hero of The Karate Kid. Towards the end of the episode, a clown in the party wipes off his makeup and reveals himself as Zabka.
The film spawned a franchise of related items and memorabilia such as action figures, head bands, posters, and T-shirts. A novelization was made by B.B. Hiller and published in 1984. The novel had a scene that was in the rehearsal when Daniel encounters Johnny during school at lunch. Also at the end, there was a battle between Miyagi and Kreese in the parking lot after the tournament which was the original ending for the film and used as the beginning of The Karate Kid Part II.
In 2015, toy company Funko revived The Karate Kid action figures. Two versions of character Daniel Larusso, a version of character Johnny Lawrence and a version of Mr. Miyagi were part of the line. The toys were spotted at retailers Target and Amazon.com.
A video game based on the first film was developed by Atlus and published by LJN for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. A video game based on the second film, titled The Karate Kid Part II: The Computer Game, was released in 1987.
A mobile game entitled Cobra Kai: Card Fighter was released on iOS and Android devices on March 19, 2021.
- $100 million up until 1985. 2018 and 2019 re-releases grossed $400,529.
- The original trilogy grossed $300 million worldwide up until 1994. Between 2018 and 2020, the original film grossed a further $400,529 in the United States and Canada, and $42,257 in the United Kingdom and Australia.
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″The Karate Kid″ surprised almost everyone by amassing a domestic gross of $100 million. That’s phenomenal for a modest film with no stars and a title that sounded like a combination of Bruce Lee and a kidflick.
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Now she's the kid everyone roots for in this money-making series that has already grossed $300 million worldwide.
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