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 III’ Headed to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD May 23

Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut Creed III, from Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, will be released on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD May 23 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment.

Directed by Jordan, from a screenplay by Keegan Coogler and Zach Baylin, the film recently set a franchise record and scored the biggest domestic box office opening for a sports film in history, according to the studio. 

The film has earned nearly $250 million at the global box office.

Creed III stars Michael B. Jordan (Just Mercy, Black Panther), Tessa Thompson (Thor: Love and Thunder, TV’s “Westworld”), Jonathan Majors (Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Devotion), Wood Harris (TV’s “Winning Time”), Mila Davis-Kent, Florian Munteanu and Phylicia Rashad.

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In the third installment in the franchise, after dominating the boxing world, Adonis Creed (Jordan) has been thriving in both his career and family life. When a childhood friend and former boxing prodigy, Damian (Majors), resurfaces after serving a long sentence in prison, he is eager to prove that he deserves his shot in the ring. The face off between former friends is more than just a fight. To settle the score, Adonis must put his future on the line to battle Damian — a fighter who has nothing to lose.

A three-film collection featuring Creed, Creed II and Creed III will also be available on Blu-ray and DVD May 23.

‘Creed III’ Gets Record $58 Million Knockout Win in Weekend Box Office Debut

Amazon-owned MGM Studios’ boxing drama threequel Creed III handily beat expectations, generating a projected record $58.6 million in revenue across 4,000 North American screens through the March 5 weekend. The tally surpasses $100 million when including overseas ticket sales.

The third installment in the spinoff of the “Rocky” boxing franchise, headlined by Michael B. Jordan (who also directed) playing fictional heavyweight champ Adonis “Donnie” Creed, was expected to generate around $43 million in ticket sales, according to Box Office Pro.

MGM claims the opening, which got off to a strong start following $5.5 million in March 2 sneak screenings, tops all sports-themed theatrical debuts. The previous record was held by Sony Picture Entertainment’s The Karate Kid at $55.6 million in 2010.

Creed III easily bested the previous box office champ, Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which nosed-dived further generating an estimated $12.5 million in tickets sold, but upping its global haul past $419 million ($186.5 million North America) after three weekends.

Universal Pictures’ horror-comedy Cocaine Bear, which also beat expectations last weekend when it opened to $23 million, finished third with $11 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period to bring its total domestic gross to $41 million.

In fourth place, Sony Pictures-owned Crunchyroll’s Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No YaibaTo the Swordsmith Village debuted to more than $10 million, less than half of the anime franchise’s previous theatrical debut, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, in 2021.

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Rounding out the top 5 was Lionsgate’s faith-based Jesus Revolution, which added $8.6 million, upping the movie’s 10-day total to $30.5 million. With a 99% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and an A+ CinemaScore, the film has been positioned solidly with faith-inspired moviegoers. Given its budget and financial model, the film is a hit for Lionsgate and producer Kingdom Story Company.

Lionsgate also released the STX-produced Guy Ritchie-directed action comedy Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre, generating around $3 million across more than 2,100 North American screens. A modest start for a movie co-starring Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes and Hugh Grant.

Boxing Drama ‘Creed III’ Looks to Deliver Weekend Box Office Knockout

A busy March box office beckons with Amazon/MGM Studios’ Creed III, the third installment in boxing drama spin-off of the “Rocky” franchise, looking to become the champ.

The film finds heavyweight champ Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) defending title and lifestyle against a childhood friend and former boxing prodigy (Jonathan Majors). In addition to headlining the movie, Jordan also directs the follow-up to 2018’s Creed II, which featured elder statesman Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) guiding Creed. That movie generated more than $214 million at the global box office. The threequel could best the sequel’s record $35.6 million North American box office opening and could generate $43 million in ticket sales through March 5, according to Box Office Pro.

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Another new weekend theatrical release, Sony Pictures/Crunchyroll’s anime release Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba — To the Swordsmith Village, follows in the successful footsteps of the 2021 box office hit Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train, which generated $453 million in worldwide ticket sales. To the Swordsmith Village is tracking an opening weekend revenue estimate of around $11 million, significantly below Mugen Train, which debuted with $21.3 million in ticket sales. The former is also expected to finished behind the third weekend of Disney/Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which should tally around $14 million.

Other weekend box office returnees include Universal Pictures’ Cocaine Bear, which is projected to generate an additional $10.3 million in ticket sales, followed by Lionsgate’s faith-based Jesus Revolution, with $9.4 million in estimated revenue.

Lionsgate is also debuting Guy Ritchie’s international comedy thriller Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, featuring Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes and Hugh Grant. Box Office Pro suggests the movie is projected to generate $4 million in ticket sales.

‘A Journal for Jordan’ Due on Digital Feb. 22, Disc March 8

The Denzel Washington-directed drama A Journal for Jordan is being released for digital sale Feb. 22, and on DVD and Blu-ray March 8 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Starring Michael B. Jordan with a screenplay by Virgil Williams, A Journal for Jordan is based on the true story of First Sergeant Charles Monroe King (Jordan), a soldier deployed to Iraq who begins to keep a journal of love and advice for his infant son. Back at home, senior New York Times editor Dana Canedy (Chanté Adams) revisits the story of her unlikely, life-altering relationship with King and his enduring devotion to her and their child. 

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The DVD, Blu-ray and digital release will include the featurette “Family Portrait: Making the Film.” The Blu-ray and digital release will also include deleted scenes, a gag reel, and the featurette “Heart and Soul: Charles and Dana Words of Wisdom: The Journal.”

Denzel Washington-Directed ‘A Journal for Jordan’ Available on PVOD

The Denzel Washington-directed drama A Journal for Jordan is available now via PVOD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film is also screening in theaters.

Starring Michael B. Jordan with a screenplay by Virgil Williams, A Journal for Jordan is based on the true story of First Sergeant Charles Monroe King (Jordan), a soldier deployed to Iraq who begins to keep a journal of love and advice for his infant son. Back at home, senior New York Times editor Dana Canedy (Chanté Adams) revisits the story of her unlikely, life-altering relationship with King and his enduring devotion to her and their child. 

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What If…?

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Animated;
Not rated.
Voices of Jeffrey Wright, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hayley Atwell, Lake Bell, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Chris Hemsworth, Kurt Russell, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson.

This Disney+ animated series explores what could have happened to the Marvel Cinematic Universe had certain moments gone differently.

The nine episodes are narrated by Jeffrey Wright as The Watcher, an omniscient being of immense power who observes the various worlds of the multiverse (which was supposedly created by the events of “Loki”).

Most episodes offer the creators a chance to indulge themselves with references to the comics they couldn’t make before, or just have fun with character confrontations that haven’t been seen before (such as an epic battle between Thor and Captain Marvel when the Asgardian wants to turn Earth into a 24-hour party planet).

The first episode offers a fun twist on Captain America: The First Avenger, as Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) ends up as the super soldier, while still-skinny Steve Rogers gets a massive Iron Man-type suit of armor.

Another episode is a dark tale about a man’s inability to let go, as it shows how dangerous Doctor Strange can be if he turns his powers toward selfish interests.

Other episodes feature alternate versions of The Avengers, and of course there’s an episode (based on a popular comic book storyline) that basically turns all the heroes into zombies.

Among the most bittersweet episodes are those that feature Chadwick Boseman in his final performances as T’Challa, recorded prior to his death from cancer. One speech in particular hits hard as he discusses the afterlife as a new beginning.

The animation style is crisp and colorful, though not always the best in capturing the appearance of the actors who play them in live-action.

Overall, the show is mostly a love letter to longtime MCU fans, who should appreciate the mostly fun but often dark chance to see the franchise in a different light.

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Keanu Reeves Sports Film ‘Hardball’ Hitting Blu-ray Sept. 21 for Its 20th Anniversary

The sports drama Hardball, starring Keanu Reeves and Diane Lane, will arrive on Blu-ray for the first time Sept. 21 from Paramount Home Entertainment for its 20th anniversary.

Directed by Brian Robbins, the film follows Conor O’Neill (Reeves), a down-on-his-luck gambler in debt to dangerous loan sharks. Desperate for cash, Conor reluctantly takes a job coaching a youth baseball team, a ragtag group of tough-talking kids from Chicago’s inner city. Secretly, Conor plans to desert the team after he wins a big bet. The kids need someone to believe in, and as Conor wrestles with his past, they start to teach him some lessons that will forever change his future — that responsibility and trust must be earned and hope can appear in the most unlikely places.

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The cast also include John Hawkes, D.B. Sweeney and Michael B. Jordan in one of his first film roles.

The Blu-ray includes the legacy bonus content, including commentary by Robbins and writer John Gatins; “The Making of Hardball”; deleted scenes; the music video “Hardball” by Lil’ Bow Wow, Lil’ Wayne, Lil’ Zane and Sammie; interstitials; and the theatrical trailer.

Entertainment Media Helps Amazon Up Q3 Online Sales 38%

Amazon Oct. 29 said online sales in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30, increased 38% to a record $48. 35 billion, compared with $35 billion in the previous-year period. Online sales include myriad products, but the Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth points out that revenue includes media products available in both a physical (DVD and 4K UHD and Blu-ray Disc) and digital format, such as books, music, videos, games, and software. These product sales include digital products sold on a transactional basis.

Meanwhile, Amazon reiterated its studio’s commitment toward the Amazon original movies slate with additions such as Sacha Baron Cohen’s political satire Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, which recently launched globally on Prime Video, as well as Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, starring Michael B. Jordan, slated to launch in 2021.

Amazon premiered several new and returning Amazon Original series, including “The Boys,” “Breathe Into the Shadows,” “Bandish Bandits,” “Mirzapur” and “Putham Pudhu Kaalai” in India, “Peep Time” and “Documental S8” in Japan; “Pan y Circo” in Mexico; and “All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur” in the U.K.

Amazon Prime Video also announced that live international rugby games will be exclusively available to U.K. Prime customers this winter with a brand new tournament called the Autumn Nations Cup. The tournament will feature England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales, as well as two guest teams from Fiji and Georgia.

Amazon announced that more than 100 million Fire TV devices have been sold globally, and Fire TV customers are streaming billions of hours each month. The new Fire TV devices claim to be 50% more powerful than the previous Fire Stick model, while using 50% less power. Amazon also introduced a redesigned Fire TV experience that provides new content-discovery features, enhanced Alexa voice integration, and user profiles for personalized recommendations.

Finally, Amazon Studios and Howard University announced they would partner for a second year of the Howard Entertainment Program, which aims to further diversify the entertainment industry by creating a pipeline of underrepresented talent, including black students, through internships and other educational opportunities.

Drama ‘Just Mercy’ Coming to Home Video From Warner

The drama Just Mercy, based on a true story, arrives on digital March 24 and Blu-ray and DVD April 14 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther) and Oscar winners Jamie Foxx (Ray, Baby Driver, Django: Unchained) and Brie Larson (Room, Short Term 12, Captain Marvel) star in the story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan (Jordan) has his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the main testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings, as well as overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds — and the system — stacked against them.

The film, which earned $45.1 million at the global box office, is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (The Glass Castle, Short Term 12) from a screenplay he co-wrote, based on Bryan Stevenson’s bestselling memoir.

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The cast also includes Rob Morgan (Mudbound, TV’s “Stranger Things”) as Herbert Richardson, a fellow prisoner who also sits on death row awaiting his fate. Tim Blake Nelson (Wormwood, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) as Ralph Myers, whose pivotal testimony against Walter McMillian is called into question. Rafe Spall (The Big Short, The Ritual) as Tommy Chapman, the district attorney who is fighting to uphold Walter’s conviction and sentence. O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton, Godzilla: King of the Monsters) as Anthony Ray Hinton, another wrongly convicted death row inmate whose cause is taken up by Bryan, and Karan Kendrick (The Hate U Give, Hidden Figures) as Walter’s wife, Minnie McMillian, who stands by her husband.

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Special features on Blu-ray include “Making Mercy,” “This Moment Deserves,” “The Equal Justice Initiative” and deleted scenes. The DVD includes “Making Mercy.”

(UPDATE 3-17-2020: Warner moved up the digital release date to March 17)