Merchandising: Best Buy Releases ‘Rocky IV’ Steelbook

The March 21 slate of new home video releases didn’t yield much in the way of retailer exclusives.

Best Buy released its Rocky IV 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook combo pack for $29.99, the standalone 4K version of the sequel that was otherwise released on Ultra HD disc only as part of a four-film “Rocky” set by MGM and Warner on Feb. 28.

Rocky IV, from 1985, is the film in which Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) takes on the Soviet Union and its champion, Drago (Dolph Lundgren). The Best Buy combo pack includes a 4K disc with both the original theatrical cut of Rocky IV and the Rocky vs. Drago director’s cut, and a regular Blu-ray of just the theatrical cut.

This is the fourth of four consecutive weeks of Best Buy releasing the first four “Rocky” films in 4K Steelbooks.

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Best Buy’s ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ Blu-ray Steelbook

One of the week’s new releases that did have a retailer-exclusive edition was Crunchyroll’s Jujutsu Kaisen 0, available as a Blu-ray/DVD Steelbook at Best Buy for $29.99. The anime movie follows Yuta Okkotsu, a nervous high school student, who enrolls in the mysterious Tokyo Jujutsu High School under the guidance of Satoru Gojo after being haunted by the curse of his childhood friend.

Meanwhile, Target offered a 10% discount for Easter books and movies. While the chain’s catalog section offers a wide variety of titles in special Easter-themed slipcovers, many of its stores continue to seem indifferent to stocking new releases on time. The biggest March 21 titles such as Universal’s M3GAN and Paramount’s Babylon and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds — Season One were listed as “Online Only” by the company’s website (which doesn’t mean such titles will never gain brick-and-mortar shelf space, just that it takes longer to stock them).

 

Stallone’s ‘Rocky IV’ Director’s Cut Coming to Theaters and VOD in November

MGM is bringing Sylvester Stallone’s new director’s cut of the 1985 boxing movie Rocky IV to theaters for one night only Nov. 11.

Rocky IV: Rocky vs. Drago — The Ultimate Director’s Cut includes 40 minutes of additional footage and is being screened in select theaters for one showing through Fathom Events. Screenings will include an introduction by Stallone, a look at the making of the new cut, and a live Q&A broadcast.

The new director’s cut will be available on demand beginning Nov. 12.

The film features Stallone, who also directed and wrote the screenplay, returning to the role of underdog boxing champ Rocky Balboa, this time squaring off against Russian powerhouse Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) in a battle of East vs. West.

The cast also includes Brigitte Nielsen, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Michael Pataki, Robert Doornick, Stu Nahan, Talia Shire and Tony Burton.

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Creed II

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 3/5/19;
Warner/MGM;
Drama;
Box Office $115.7 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sports action violence, language, and a scene of sensuality.
Stars Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris, Andre Ward, Russell Hornsby, Florian Munteanu, Dolph Lundgren.

Given the premise used in 2015’s Creed to restart the “Rocky” franchise, this sequel is more or less exactly the movie the series’ fans were waiting for.

The eighth film in the “Rocky” franchise continues the story of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the young boxer who is still haunted by the legacy of his father, Apollo. Adonis faces a new challenge in the form of Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), son of former Russian champion Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), who Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) famously defeated in 1985’s Rocky IV.

The fact Apollo died as a result of an exhibition match against Ivan Drago gives Adonis added motivation, as he seeks retribution for his family name. But Rocky doesn’t think the match is worth it, pointing out Adonis has bigger priorities in his life now, such as starting a family with Bianca (Tessa Thompson).

Creed II

While the film serves as a natural sequel to both Rocky IV and Creed, it borrows a lot from Rocky III in terms of story structure. While much of the plotting fits in well with the “what happens next” soap opera flow of the “Rocky” movies in general, the film is bound together by the motif of legacy, in particular the influence parents and children can have on each other that transcends generations.

In fact, two of the featurettes included with the Blu-ray are built upon this idea. The first is “The Rocky Legacy,” a 15-minute history of the “Rocky” films hosted by Lundgren that examines why the franchise has endured. The second is the seven-minute “Fathers and Sons” featurette, which takes a deeper look at how the desire to build a legacy impacts the characters involved.

Interestingly, the film adds depth to the Drago character beyond his role as the cookie-cutter villain from Rocky IV. He blames Rocky for his loss of stature following their match, and through his son he seeks a measure of revenge as well, against the fighter now seen as Rocky’s protégé.

There’s a six-minute featurette devoted to the casting of amateur boxer Munteanu as the younger Drago, and he certainly casts an intimidating shadow when standing next to Jordan’s Creed (not unlike seeing Lundgren’s towering frame over Stallone 33 years prior).

The six-minute “The Women of Creed II” focuses on the other side of the equation, Thompson as Bianca and Phylicia Rashad as Adonis’ mother representing the impact his professional struggles have on his personal life.

Finally, there are four deleted scenes running a total of 10 minutes, and a couple of them will be of particular interest to longtime “Rocky” fans.

One features the funeral of Spider Rico, who was the first boxer Rocky was seen fighting during a sparring session in the first film back in 1976. This scene adds a bit of context to one of the film’s plot developments.

Another scene serves as an epilogue to the main story, as the characters encounter each other in the locker room after the climactic fight.

While the business of Hollywood is such that it would be unwise to rule out another sequel, the conclusion of Creed II leaves the characters and viewers in a place where it would be a satisfying conclusion to the series if the particulars involved chose to leave it at that.

At least, until 2045, when the next entry sees Mickey’s great-great-grandson challenge the grandson of Clubber Lang to an MMA fight. Stay tuned, fight fans.