The Karate Kid (franchise)

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The Karate Kid
Official franchise logo
Created byRobert Mark Kamen
Original workThe Karate Kid (1984)
Owned byColumbia Pictures
(Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Films and television


Television seriesCobra Kai (2018–present)
Animated seriesThe Karate Kid (1989)
Video game(s)
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.

In 2010, a remake with a similar storyline but with a different set of characters, was released. Despite maintaining the original title, the remake focused on kung fu, as the film was set in China.

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.

Theatrical films[edit]

Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s)
The Karate Kid June 22, 1984 (1984-06-22) John G. Avildsen Robert Mark Kamen Jerry Weintraub
The Karate Kid Part II June 20, 1986 (1986-06-20)
The Karate Kid Part III June 30, 1989 (1989-06-30)
The Next Karate Kid September 9, 1994 (1994-09-09) Christopher Cain Mark Lee
Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s)
The Karate Kid June 11, 2010 (2010-06-11) Harald Zwart Christopher Murphey Jerry Weintraub, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith,
James Lassiter and Ken Stovitz
The Karate Kid
Directed by
Produced byJerry Weintraub
Written byRobert Mark Kamen
Music byBill Conti
Edited by
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
Running time
458 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$45.5 million
Box office$316,457,563

The Karate Kid (1984)[edit]

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)[edit]

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)[edit]

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)[edit]

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)[edit]

The Karate Kid (2010)
Directed byHarald Zwart
Based onThe Karate Kid
by Robert Mark Kamen
Music byJames Horner
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • June 11, 2010 (2010-06-11)
Running time
140 minutes[1]
Budget$40 million[2]
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."[3]

Live action TV series[edit]

SeriesSeasonEpisodesOriginally releasedShowrunner(s)
First releasedLast releasedNetwork
Cobra Kai110May 2, 2018 (2018-05-02)YouTube RedJosh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
210April 24, 2019 (2019-04-24)YouTube Premium
310January 1, 2021 (2021-01-01)Netflix

Cobra Kai (2018–present)[edit]

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[edit]

SeriesSeasonEpisodesOriginally releasedShowrunner(s)
First releasedLast releasedNetwork
The Karate Kid113September 9, 1989 (1989-09-09)December 16, 1989 (1989-12-16)NBCLarry Houston

The Karate Kid (1989)[edit]

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?"[4] 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."[5]


  • 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
Barrett CarnahanY
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
Snake Jonathan Avildsen
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
Meiying Wenwen Han
Cheng Zhenwang Zhang
Sherry Parker Taraji P. Henson
Master Li Rongguang Yu
Harry Luke Carberry
Miguel Diaz Xolo Maridueña Joe ZiejaV
Samantha "Sam" LaRusso Mary Mouser Mary Mouser Valerie Rose LohmanV
Reese TinLeeY
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
Moon Hannah Kepple
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.[6] 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.[6]

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.[6] 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.[6]

DC Comics had a character called Karate Kid. The filmmakers received special permission from DC Comics in 1984 to use the title for the first film (and subsequent sequels).[7]


Box office performance[edit]

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 [13][14]
The Karate Kid Part II June 20, 1986 $115,103,979 ? $13 million[citation needed] [15]
The Karate Kid Part III June 30, 1989 $38,956,288 ? $12.5 million[citation needed] [16]
The Next Karate Kid September 9, 1994 $8,914,777 $7,100,000 $16,014,777 $12 million[citation needed] [17][18]
The Karate Kid (2010) June 11, 2010 $176,591,618 $182,534,404 $359,126,022 $40 million [19]
Total $439,967,191 $189,634,404+ $675,583,585 $85.5 million
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.

Critical and public response[edit]

Film/Television Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Cinemascore
The Karate Kid (1984) 89% (44 reviews)[20] 60 (15 reviews)[21] N/A
The Karate Kid Part II 45% (31 reviews)[22] 55 (9 reviews)[23] A–[24]
The Karate Kid Part III 15% (33 reviews)[25] 36 (12 reviews)[26] B–[24]
The Next Karate Kid 7% (27 reviews)[27] 36 (15 reviews)[28] B+[24]
The Karate Kid (2010) 66% (210 reviews)[29] 61 (37 reviews)[30] A[24]
Cobra Kai: Season 1 100% (48 reviews)[31] 72 (11 reviews)[32] N/A
Cobra Kai: Season 2 90% (30 reviews)[33] 66 (7 reviews)[34] N/A
Cobra Kai: Season 3 90% (49 reviews)[35] 71 (14 reviews)[36] N/A

Cultural influence[edit]

The series has been credited for popularizing Karate in the United States.[37][38]

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.[39][40]

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.[41]

Other media[edit]


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[42]

Video games[edit]

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.

Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues, a video game based on the television series Cobra Kai, was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on October 27, 2020.[43]

A mobile game entitled Cobra Kai: Card Fighter was released on iOS and Android devices on March 19, 2021.


  1. ^ $100 million up until 1985.[8] 2018 and 2019 re-releases grossed $400,529.[9][10]
  2. ^ The original trilogy grossed $300 million worldwide up until 1994.[11] Between 2018 and 2020, the original film grossed a further $400,529 in the United States and Canada,[9][10] and $42,257 in the United Kingdom and Australia.[12]


  1. ^ "THE KARATE KID rated PG by the BBFC". bbfc. Archived from the original on July 16, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  2. ^ Fritz, Ben (June 10, 2010). "Movie projector: 'The Karate Kid' and 'The A-Team' fight it out in battle of the '80s". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  3. ^ Topel, Fred (2021-01-15). "'Cobra Kai' Creators Reveal Which Characters Can Return to the Show and What to Expect from Season 4 [Interview]". Slashfilm. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  4. ^ Hurwitz, Jon (2020-09-24). "Twitter: Jon Hurwitz". Twitter. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  5. ^ Stone, Sam (2021-01-20). "Cobra Kai Reveals Nearly Two Dozen Easter Eggs from Season 3". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  6. ^ a b c d Prewitt, Alex (2018-05-01). "The Crane Kick Is Bogus: A Karate Kid Oral History". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  7. ^ Hodges, Christopher (2019-07-30). "20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Karate Kid". Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  8. ^ Thomas, Bob (November 6, 1985). "The Karate Kid Returns". AP News. Associated Press. Retrieved 8 June 2020. ″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.
  9. ^ a b "Cobra Kai Premiere Event feat. The Karate Kid". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  10. ^ a b "The Karate Kid 2019 Re-release". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  11. ^ McNally, Owen (8 September 1994). "`Next Karate Kid' Has A New Face". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on 27 January 2021. Retrieved 27 January 2021. Now she's the kid everyone roots for in this money-making series that has already grossed $300 million worldwide.
  12. ^ "The Karate Kid (1984) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  13. ^ "The Karate Kid (1984) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 2019-07-07.
  14. ^ "The Karate Kid (1984)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  15. ^ "The Karate Kid Part II (1986)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  16. ^ "The Karate Kid Part III (1989)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  17. ^ "The Next Karate Kid (1994)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  18. ^ "The Next Karate Kid (1994) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  19. ^ "The Karate Kid (2010)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  20. ^ "The Karate Kid (1984)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  21. ^ The Karate Kid, retrieved 2019-07-07
  22. ^ "The Karate Kid Part II (1986)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  23. ^ The Karate Kid Part II, retrieved 2019-07-07
  24. ^ a b c d "Cinemascore :: Movie Title Search". Retrieved 2019-07-07.
  25. ^ "The Karate Kid Part III (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  26. ^ The Karate Kid Part III, retrieved 2019-07-07
  27. ^ "The Next Karate Kid (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  28. ^ The Next Karate Kid, retrieved 2019-07-07
  29. ^ "The Karate Kid (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  30. ^ "The Karate Kid Reviews". CBS Interactive. Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  31. ^ "Cobra Kai". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  32. ^ Cobra Kai, retrieved 2019-07-07
  33. ^ "Cobra Kai". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  34. ^ Cobra Kai, retrieved 2019-07-07
  35. ^ "Cobra Kai". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  36. ^ Cobra Kai, retrieved 2021-01-29
  37. ^ Powell, Larry; Garrett, Tom (20 December 2013). The Films of John G. Avildsen: Rocky, The Karate Kid and Other Underdogs. McFarland. ISBN 9780786490479. Retrieved 28 December 2017 – via Google Books.
  38. ^ M.D, Lyle J. Micheli (17 November 2010). Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine. SAGE Publications. ISBN 9781506320106. Retrieved 28 December 2017 – via Google Books.
  39. ^ Frye, Cory (March 10, 2018). "Of Being and Johnny Lawrence (Sweep the Leg)". Albany Democrat-Herald. Corvallis Gazette-Times. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  40. ^ Strauss, Chris (October 9, 2014). "'Karate Kid' villain Billy Zabka is still best friends with the Cobra Kais". USA Today. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  41. ^ Gonzalez, Sandra (April 29, 2013). "'How I Met Your Mother' recap, 'Bro Mitzvah': The REAL Karate Kid". Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  42. ^ "The Karate Kid (1984) Action Figures have been Revived by Funko". Z.Love's Entertainment Blog. 2015-10-10. Retrieved 2015-10-10.
  43. ^ Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues Video Game Revealed, Release Date Confirmed for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch - IGN, retrieved 2020-08-31

External links[edit]