Nothing says Christmas like an over-the-hill boxer getting back into the ring for one last chance to reclaim the eye of the tiger.
MGM has come on board to distribute "Rocky Balboa" ("Rocky VI" for those who like numbers) in the United States and Canada. The reputed final installment of the pugilistic saga will now open domestically on December 22, just in time for the holiday rush.
The film, produced jointly by MGM, Revolution Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment, was initially scheduled for a February 2007 premiere.
"We're thrilled to be adding such a high caliber movie to our studio's revitalized domestic distribution business," says MGM COO Rick Sands. "Historically speaking, the 'Rocky' franchise, with its loyal fan base and incredible brand recognition, will be an added benefit in greasing the wheels of MGM's newly reinvigorated distribution machine. Plus, this movie, like all the 'Rocky' movies in the franchise, will have a big appeal with family audiences, making it a perfect film for a holiday release."
In "Rocky Balboa," the titular palooka (writer-director Sylvester Stallone) comes out of retirement for one last exhibition bout.
"We are extremely excited about what Sylvester Stallone has brought to this latest chapter in the life of one of America's most beloved screen characters," says Tom Sherak, principal at Revolution Studios. "And it seems only right that 'Rocky' is back at the studio where it all began."
Sony is covering all international distribution for "Rocky Balboa," which is now positioned for Oscar eligibility, which sounds ridiculous, even if you remember that the original film won a trio of Oscars, including best picture, back in 1977.