Sylvester Stallone’s New Cut Of Rocky 4 Has Already Set An Impressive Record

By Dylan Balde | 2 weeks ago

sylvester stallone rocky iv

The reels are in. Audiences are clamoring to see Rocky batter Ivan Drago to the ground in extended format. An upcoming director’s cut of Rocky IV bags 120% more pickings in presale tickets than its immediate predecessor on Fathom, a Deadline exclusive reveals, marking Rocky IV: Rocky vs. Drago’s first recorded pandemic win. The film, headed by actor, screenwriter, and director Sylvester Stallone, is expected to dominate the special events box office on opening night, beating out January 2019’s sellout, BTS World Tour Love Yourself in Seoul, which debuted at $2.86 million. Rocky vs. Drago packs quite the competition, however; last week, Met Opera: Fire Shut Up in My Bones racked up $610,000 on its first day.

Sylvester Stallone’s extended take on Rocky IV boasts 40 extra minutes of runtime; that’s almost an hour more of watching Rocky Balboa train in the harsh backwoods of Krasnogourbinsk, Soviet Russia, and beat the everliving hell out of human dynamo Ivan Drago, a competing boxing champion known for taking anabolic steroids before matches. Rocky IV was Hollywood’s highest-grossing sports movie until John Lee Hancock’s The Blind Side dethroned it in 2009, and the franchise’s most profitable entry to date. The Expendables star hopes to celebrate these strides by treating moviegoers to a live Q&A in select Fathom locations and streaming a never-before-seen behind-the-scenes look into the making of the 1985 film.

Rocky IV kicks off a few years after the previous movie, during the height of the Cold War. Robert “Rocky” Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is the world heavyweight champion; he lives with his wife Adrian (Talia Shire) and young son Rocky, Jr. (Rocky Krakoff). Soviet boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) pays America a visit, attracting the ire of Rocky’s archrival Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) who intends to make an example of the Soviets by taking down Drago in an exhibition match. Creed arrives at the venue with enough pomp and circumstance to get the audience rallying by his side, but is rudely outclassed. Drago eviscerates Apollo Creed after only two rounds; a final punch ends his life. Rocky issues his own challenge after Ivan Drago responds to the outcome of the fight with cruel indifference, ushering in a new subtype of patriotic zeal to rival the ongoing Space Race.

To avoid the relentless deluge of death threats caused by Apollo Creed’s unforeseen passing, Drago’s camp arranges for an unsanctioned 15-round match to take place in the heart of the Soviet Union during Christmas, to which Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky acquiesces. Both men prepare the best way they know how: good, old-fashioned cardio for Rocky, and the prototypical Captain America (or Red Guardian?) workout for Drago, complete with drugs and steroids.

On the day of the fight, Drago batters Rocky with a lofty entrance meant to highlight Soviet superiority, resulting in the Italian Stallion receiving the audience equivalent of ten thousand lashings. But Rocky trudges on and eventually defeats Drago, avenging Creed and earning the respect of the Soviet politburo. It’s a victory meant to bring two warring nations together, as Rocky calls to the crowd for nonviolent change. Sylvester Stallone truly outdid himself with Rocky IV, and fans couldn’t be more thrilled to be privy to additional footage.

Rocky IV: Rocky vs. Drago is Sylvester Stallone’s next major milestone after handing off leadership of the Expendables to Jason Statham’s Lee Christmas in the movie franchise of the same name. The new cut hits Fathom on November 11.