Six-Film ‘Rocky’ 4K Collection Slated for July 16

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment July 16 will release the Rocky Ultimate Knockout Collection, consisting of all six of MGM’s “Rocky” films on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc.

The franchise stars Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, an underdog boxer who receives an unlikely opportunity to contend for the championship. The original 1976 Rocky won the Oscar for Best Picture. It was followed by 1979’s Rocky II, 1982’s Rocky III, 1985’s Rocky IV, 1990’s Rocky V, and 2006’s Rocky Balboa.

The new collection includes the theatrical cuts for all six films in 4K with Dolby Vision HDR, plus the Rocky IV ultimate director’s cut Rocky vs. Drago, the Rocky Balboa director’s cut, and a bonus Blu-ray containing an hour-long behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the extended version of Rocky IV. The set also offers a selection of previously released extras including Stallone’s commentary on Rocky Balboa, which also comes with an alternate ending, deleted scenes and four featurettes. Digital copies of all six films also are included.

Rocky V and Rocky Balboa will also be available individually in Steelbook packaging. The first four films were previously released collectively on 4K as the Rocky Knockout Collection in early 2023, but reportedly had audio issues; the new set should include the corrected discs for all the movies.

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.

Merchandising: Best Buy Taking ‘Rocky’ 4K Steelbook Preorders

Retailers didn’t do much to promote the light slate of new releases Feb. 21. Of the big three national chains that sell home entertainment, only Best Buy it seems even bothered to stock any of the new titles on shelves.

More prominent on Best Buy’s website was a promotion for recent and catalog animated movies.

Best Buy also continues to take preorders for many of its upcoming exclusive Steelbook editions, with the most prominent being individual 4K Ultra HD combo packs for the first four “Rocky” films at $29.99 each. The discs are otherwise being widely released as a four-film boxed set Feb. 28, which includes just the 4K disc for each film and a digital copy code. Best Buy’s individual Steelbook editions include both a 4K disc and a regular Blu-ray of each film, plus the digital code.

The other big difference with the boxed set is that Best Buy’s versions won’t be available at the same time, with the original Rocky out Feb. 28, Rocky II on March 7, Rocky III March 14, and Rocky IV March 21.

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Target also didn’t do much for the week’s new releases, instead offering a promotion of 20% off movies.

First Four ‘Rocky’ Movies Arrive on 4K Disc Feb. 28 From MGM and Warner

MGM and Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment Feb. 28 will release the first four “Rocky” films on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc for the first time as Rocky: The Knockout Collection.

The franchise stars Sylvester Stallone as an underdog boxer from Philadelphia who gets an unlikely shot at superstardom.

The collection includes the MGM feature films Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III and Rocky IV, along with the Rocky IV ultimate director’s cut Rocky vs. Drago on 4K discs with Dolby Vision HDR.

The collection also contains access to digital versions of the films, plus a Blu-ray disc featuring the hour-long behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the extended director’s cut of Rocky IV as well as a selection of previously existing bonus materials. 

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PVOD, TVOD, Here I Come!

This month’s cover story in the February 2021 issue of Media Play News could’ve been written about me. I love movies. I’m prone to binge-watching episodic series. And I enjoy weird documentaries and concert videos.

Since I tend to be a Type A control freak, I like to be in charge of what I watch and when I watch it. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone that I haven’t watched any broadcast TV at all since Election Night last November.

I also enjoy going to the movies, mostly for the thrill of watching something new, something fresh, something most people haven’t seen yet. So when theaters were shuttered — and here in California, they’re still dark — I jumped at the chance to watch new movies in my family room, even if it would set me back $20. Being a man of a certain age, I passed on Trolls World Tour, but the lure of Scoob! and childhood memories of my Saturday morning cartoon marathons made the Warner release my very first PVOD purchase. I wasn’t disappointed, and since then I’ve probably watched at least a half dozen other premium VOD releases – drawn, again, by the thrill of being among the first to see it.

At the same time, I’ve been buying and renting much more frequently, both digitally and on disc. I’m as addicted to Netflix as the next guy, but maybe being in the industry makes me a little more aware than most people about all the great content I’m missing that’s not available on Netflix or the other streamers.

So during the past 11 months (has it really been almost a year?) of this never-ending COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve rented and bought dozens of movies, new and old, and at the same time made numerous trips to my DVD/Blu-ray Disc room to pull out favorites from my personal collection.

I just finished watching all six “Rocky” movies on Blu-ray Disc with my middle son. We tried starting the “Rambo” series, but the discs are damaged so I just placed an order for a new set of “Rambo” Blu-rays for $25.

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Before that, I had a nostalgic moment and pulled out my Incredible Mr. Limpet DVD, the first movie I saw in the theater.

My youngest son and I watched all six years of “The Sopranos” on Blu-ray Disc — his first time, and my third — and after that we went on a gangster movie binge. We watched the first two “Godfather” movies from my library, bought the new edit of the third film in the series, Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, on Blu-ray Disc from Amazon, and rented several other movies, including Goodfellas and Casino, digitally through Redbox On Demand.

My wife, meanwhile, raced through The Queen’s Gambit and “Designated Survivor” on Netflix and, before that, “Outlander” on Hulu.

I’ll join her, eventually, since there is an awful lot of great programming I’d like to get back to — including season 3 of “Ozark,” although by now it’s been so long I’ll probably have to watch the first two seasons again just to figure out what’s going on.

But until movie theaters reopen, I’m going to keep bringing the theater into my home.

‘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.