This weekend, while “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was busy smashing more box-office records, there was another story happening: “Creed” quietly crossed $100 million domestic at the box office, making it the first movie in the “Rocky” franchise to do so in three decades. It’s a feather in the cap for the boxing picture, which has won over both audiences and critics, and spurred Oscar murmurs for stars Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone. However, as Stallone reveals in a chat with Deadline, he was happy with the way things wrapped up in 2006’s “Rocky Balboa,” and at first, wasn’t keen on reviving the franchise.
“It took [Coogler] about two years to convince me,” he said. “I had been very, very grateful the way last chapter of ‘Rocky Balboa’ wrapped up his story in a satisfactory way for the audience. When Rocky waves goodbye, that was a goodbye to the audience and a thank you. I just thought, ‘Finally,’ and thought it was a wonderful send-off. ‘Rocky’ stayed dormant for six or seven years, and then this fellow comes in, and says, ‘Oh, can we dig him up?’ I go, ‘No, no, no, no.’ Then he proceeded to tell me this story. My first reaction was it was disconcerting. It shows Rocky outside the ring, fighting the fight that he really can’t win. It’s a fight against the greatest opponent in the world; life. I said, ‘No, kid, I think we’re tampering with something here we should leave alone.’ “
But, the lesson here, kids, is that persistence pays off.
“So he goes away and does ‘Fruitvale Station.’ Wins all these awards, and he’s offered multiple job opportunities and he keeps coming back to ‘Creed.’ I see this and say, this fellow here obviously is functioning on a different kind of energy,” Stallone continues. “It is heartfelt, not monetary, not ego. It’s as though he has to finish a mission, which was a love letter to his father who had been very, very ill and that stimulated the idea. There was just something about this kid, who was very, very physical in his manner, but sensitive and emotional. It kind of reminded me…of me, truth be told. So I finally said, ‘You know what? Someone took a chance on me, once. I’m just going to throw caution to the wind and let him run with it.’ “
And for everyone involved, the decision to make the movie couldn’t have turned out better. “Creed” is still playing in theaters, and you can check out that scene from “Rocky Balboa” that Stallone was talking about below.