Last year, Sylvester Stallone said he was working on a director's cut of the 1985 film Rocky IV. The pitch for this new cut is “The fight scenes are more intense, the music is more powerful and the drama is heightened as world heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa (Played by Stallone) must defend his title once again, this time against his most formidable opponent: Ivan Drago (Played by Dolph Lundgren).” What that means was put on display early on when it was revealed the entire subplot of Paulie's birthday robot (which was laughed at when it appeared in the original film in theaters) was cut from the film. Now, fans will get to see just exactly Stallone is going for with the announcement that Rocky V. Drago: The Ultimate Director’s Cut will have a one-night-only engagement at theaters nationwide on November 11th.
The engagement, being distributed by Fathom Events, will also feature a live online Q&A with Stallone that will be broadcast to certain venues. The new cut is said to feature 40 minutes of never-before-seen footage. Following the one-night-only theatrical engagement, the film will be available to rent on-demand the next day (Friday, November 12th).
While Rocky IV has a special place in the hearts of fans of the long-running film franchise (half for being a relic of the 1980's and others for it's intense training montages), it is interesting to wonder if Stallone has worked to make the film a more dramatic effort. Even if the original cut still remains the highest-grossing film of the series and, for over 20 years, held the Guinness World Record for highest-grossing sports film (until it was beaten by 2009's The Blind Side. Especially considering his more recent work on the character has seen the character returned to his more original underdog framework.
The 2006 film Rocky Balboa saw him coming out of retirement to fight a younger fighter, the odds once again against him, evened by his determination and grit. Then, Stallone returned to play the character in a supporting role for the spin-off Creed films (the first film saw him nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor). With all that in mind, and 30+ years where he has been able to distance himself from his original work and take stock of it's cinematic worth, those 40 minutes of new footage could mean a very different kind of film. We'll find out on November 11th. Stay tuned!