Creed III

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner/MGM;
Drama;
Box Office $156.25 million;
$34.98 DVD, $39.98 Blu-ray, $49.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sports action, violence, and some strong language.
Stars Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors, Wood Harris, Mila Davis-Kent, Florian Munteanu, Phylicia Rashad.

The first two “Creed” films featured the title character dealing with personal issues stemming from earlier “Rocky” movies. For the third installment, the spinoff series jettisons Rocky for Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) to deal with some personal demons from his own past.

The premise involves Creed retiring from boxing and setting up his own gym, where he now manages the current boxing champ, Felix Chavez (played by real boxer José Benavidez Jr.). From out of the blue he is confronted by his old pal Damian (Jonathan Majors), who has been in prison for 18 years for an incident in which he pulled a gun on some thugs who were beating up on the younger Donnie. Dame was locked up just as he was about to embark on a promising boxing career, so he asks Donnie to get him back into the game.

Donnie sets Dame up at his gym as a sparring partner to Felix, but Dame’s latent anger gives him a violent streak that makes the rest of Felix’s entourage uneasy. When an upcoming title bout is derailed by an injury to Felix’s scheduled opponent, Donnie suggests Dame take his place, which Felix reluctantly accepts on the promise of a big payday.

Needless to say, the fight does not go well, and Dame not only seizes upon the opportunity to claim the title but turns out to have a massive grudge against Donnie as well. In typical “Rocky” fashion, the only recourse for both men ends up being a climactic title fight.

Rocky’s current in-universe status isn’t mentioned, Sylvester Stallone’s absence is felt, though he did seem to make a definitive exit in Creed II. While this is the first “Rocky” movie without Rocky in it, it still leans into many of the franchise’s tropes, beginning with a reference to Rocky’s underdog status from the first film being the justification for Dame getting a title shot out of nowhere. The story, as is usually the case with the “Rocky” franchise, mostly uses the boxing plot as a backdrop for familial relationships, particularly Adonis’ relationship with his adorable daughter.

And, much in the same way Stallone directed many of the original “Rocky” movies, Jordan takes the helm behind-the-scenes for this particular sequel.

Though it’s a boxing movie on its surface, the character dynamics are more typically found in a pro wrestling storyline, taking some narrative shortcuts to steer the characters toward settling all their personal animosities in the ring.

Looking past the connective tissue, however, the film is at its best when Creed is with his family, and during some good boxing scenes that seem especially brutal for the franchise.

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The Blu-ray includes a light smattering of bonus materials that glimpses behind the scenes of making this particular sequel without delving too much into the franchise’s legacy behind it — which may echo some of the public disagreements between Stallone, who is contractually listed as a producer, and other producers who control the rights to the franchise.

The 10-minute “Michael B. Jordan: In the Ring/Behind the Camera” focuses on the actor making his directorial debut, while the nine-minute “There’s No Enemy Like the Past: Donnie and Dame” explores the relationship between the two former friends turned rivals.

Rounding out the extras are three superfluous deleted scenes that run a total of four-and-a-half-minutes. Frankly, there seems to be more substantial unused material in the film’s trailers.

In regards to the 4K edition, the extras are found only on the regular Blu-ray Disc in the combo pack.

‘Creed II’ Stepping Into Retail Ring Digitally Feb. 12, on Disc March 5

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release MGM’s Creed II through digital retailers Feb. 12, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 5.

The sequel to 2015’s Creed and the eighth film in the “Rocky” franchise stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed and Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, the icons of boxing who confront their shared legacy when Adonis takes on the son of Ivan Drago, one of Rocky’s greatest adversaries and the man who killed Creed’s father in the ring.

Directed by Steven Caple Jr., Creed II also stars Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris, Andre Ward, Florian Munteanu, Russell Hornsby and Dolph Lundgren, who returns to the franchise after playing Drago in 1985’s Rocky IV.

The Blu-ray and DVD editions will include the featurette “The Rocky Legacy.”

The Blu-ray version will also include deleted scenes and the featurettes “From Father to Son, Blood Runs Hot,” “Finding the Authentic” and “The Women of Creed II.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack will offer Dolby Vision HDR.

MGM Studios 2017 Home Entertainment Revenue Plummets — Without James Bond

MGM Studios March 28 reported fiscal 2017 (ended Dec. 31, 2017) home entertainment revenue of $91.9 million, which was down 55% from revenue of $206.5 million during the previous-year period.

MGM attributed the decline to comparisons with the global release of Spectre during the prior-year period, strong digital sales from the latest James Bond installment starring Daniel Craig; Rocky-themed boxing drama Creed, ongoing revenue from other recently released films, and the tail-end of the studio’s worldwide home entertainment promotion (i.e. catalog sales) for the James Bond franchise.

Spectre, which is distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, generated $36.2 million in disc sales, according to The-Numbers.com. Creed — distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment — generated $25.3 million.

Fiscal 2017 also included revenue from recent film releases, primarily worldwide digital revenue for The Magnificent Seven and Ben-Hur, home entertainment revenue for The Belko Experiment, plus ongoing revenue from Spectre, The Hobbit trilogy and additional library content.

Home entertainment revenue from TV content topped $33.8 million, up 1% from $33.6 million in 2016.

Finally, MGM announced that its senior management team would continue to run the company following the March 21 termination of CEO Gary Barber.