Creed has won the hearts of critics and audiences alike as one of the highest-rated and best-reviewed films of 2015, and its second week has delivered the film yet another breakthrough.
(More on that in a bit.)
A lot has changed since Sylvester Stallone first laced up the gloves as Rocky Balboa in 1976's Best Picture-winning classic. For starters, boxing -- particularly heavyweight boxing -- has taken a tumble in popularity.
The series' critically acclaimed sixth installment, Rocky Balboa, dealt directly with this lack of appeal. Because of the sport's receding notoriety, it was only natural that expectations compared to previous Rocky installments were somewhat muted.
Add into the mix the fact that Balboa would not be facing a climactic in-ring showdown, acquiescing to protege Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) instead, and that Stallone would be giving up the reins on writing and directing chores to Ryan Coogler, and it was anyone's guess as to whether this would even get made.
Luckily, Coogler was able to get Stallone on board with a script that rang true to the character while building a strong backstory for the film's new star. From there, the film began picking up tremendous buzz, and by Rotten Tomatoes standards, even won the highest critical raves of any film in the series, the original included.
While Rocky and Creed share a 93 percent on the aggregator, Creed's raves come from 167 critics compared to Rocky's 55.
With reduced expectations, Creed delivered on a budget of $35 million, earning back its full cost within the first week. Now after a second weekend, it has reached a new milestone, doubling the amount of money that it cost to make.
With a $15.5 million weekend and a $5 million overseas gross, according to Box Office Mojo, it now boasts $70 million worldwide. Furthermore, the second week take was just a 48 percent drop-off. Considering that most films fall off more than 50 percent, it's apparent that Creed could have some strong legs through the holidays.
In the Rocky franchise, however, it's still a somewhat small accomplishment.
The original Rocky grossed $117.2 million (or $459 million by today's standards). Rocky II cashed in with $85 million ($283 million adjusted gross), Rocky III $124 million ($354.5 million adjusted), Rocky IV $127.8 million ($295.1 million adjusted, with an additional $172.6 million in international sales), Rocky V $40.9 million ($80.7 million adjusted, with an additional $79 million internationally), and Rocky Balboa $70.2 million ($87.4 million adjusted, with an additional $85.4 million internationally).
It's still too early to tell where Creed will end up in the overall stats -- likely ahead of Rocky Balboa and maybe Rocky V -- but there is something to be said for the inherent challenges that the film faced in spinning off what is essentially a new franchise.
For that reason, it is perhaps unfair to stack it up against the originals.
In terms of ticket sales, it definitely has a good start on Rocky Balboa, which more directly set in place many of Creed's setting and character requirements than did other films in the series.
While there are definitely nods to all of the Rocky films in Creed, Rocky Balboa is more heavily used in unleashing this new franchise on the world, and it sold just under 10.5 million tickets at the time of its release.
In just two weeks, Creed has threatened to eclipse that number with more than 7.5 million tickets sold and counting.
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of all for the new film, however, is the fact that it has successfully set up future films. Stallone, Jordan, and Coogler have all said they're on board for continuing the story of Adonis Creed, and if they can keep their costs in check, it could be a franchise with surprising longevity.
But what about you, readers? Will you go see a second in the series, and what did you think of Creed? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Warner Bros.]