Saturday, December 23, 2006

'Rocky Balboa' Opens Well Around The Country

According to box office estimates, “Rocky Balboa” the latest release in the “Rocky” boxing series of movies opened to large crowds and favorable reviews on Wednesday night. I must admit that I have had reservations as to the wisdom of this move to put a sixty-year-old plus man, Sylvester Stallone, into the boxing ring one last time. In fact I remember writing that I was in laughter when the first announcement that Rocky, played by Stallone, would once again enter the boxing ring in movie theaters this Christmas. From the point of view of most people the Rocky character would be more at home in a retirement village in Florida or Arizona than in a boxing ring fighting a man 30 years younger than himself.

It could be possible that Sylvester Stallone not only fool me, but thousands of other “Rocky fans” with this new script that has received wide spread praise from some pretty hard nosed critics. So far, I have not heard if Rocky Balboa dies in this new movie, but it would be a fitting end to a movie character that millions of people around the world have followed with interest for decades. Stallone told a reporter the other day that finding a studio willing to put up the money to produce “Rocky Balboa” reminded him of the difficult work and stress he went through into getting his first movie script approved back in the 1970’s.

A lot has changed in Hollywood in the past 25 years and the biggest change is the amount of money it takes to create a major motion picture like “Rocky Balboa” and bring it to a finished product. It is true that movies cost more to produce than ever before, but in reality even bad movies have a better chance of breaking even today than they did back in the 1970’s. Big changes in the way movies are marketed around the world and in alternative venues, enable most movies to eventually break even after they make the rounds of discount theaters, movie rental locations and eventually on to cable and broadcast television.

If the reports I have read are correct and this new movie takes the Rocky Balboa story to a good and fitting end, then “Rocky Balboa” the movie will be a huge success in theaters around the world. It is difficult not to like the character of Rocky Balboa because in his life there are bits of everyone’s life that creates a great sense of love and affection for this man from Philadelphia. All of us have struggled at one point in time or another to achieved success and/or find security and happiness. However, that road often leads us in directions which are not a straight line path to the goals we desire, but a series of hard choices that will determine if we ultimately succeed or not.

This weekend will be the real test as to whether the public will send this final “Rocky Movie” into the stratosphere in box office receipts or a quick trip to the discount theaters before the New Year. While I have not seen this movie and have no idea whether the critics are correct in their praise for this latest Sylvester Stallone drama. I do have a gut feeling that this finally “Rocky Movie” could be the perfect ending to this series of movies and could possibly land Sylvester Stallone back in contention for an Oscar when those awards are handed out in Hollywood early next year.

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