Creed II is officially the box office champion for the Rocky franchise thanks to a franchise-best opening weekend. Released three years after Ryan Coogler's original Creed, the Steven Caple Jr. directed sequel revisits characters from Rocky IV, with Michael B. Jordan's Adonis Creed facing off against Ivan Drago's son Viktor (Florian Munteanu).
Sylvester Stallone starred in and created the Rocky franchise over 40 years ago, appearing in six films dedicated to the Italian Stallion. However, it was Coogler who found a way to reboot the world through the eyes of Apollo Creed's son Adonis. The first film earned rave reviews, not only launching Jordan's mainstream career, but earning Stallone an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. With Coogler moving on to direct Black Panther, many were concerned that the sequel wouldn't live up to the high bar he set, but Creed II turned out be a critical success, and even though Ralph Breaks the Internet took the top spot this weekend at the box office, it has experienced success of its own.
While official box office figures for the film's opening weekend have yet to be finalized, Box Office Mojo reports that the latest estimates for Creed II have it setting new records for the Rocky franchise. The sequel is estimated to have grossed just over $35 million domestically, topping the previous record by Creed's $29.6M opening. When the full five-day extended weekend (including this past Wednesday and Thursday) is added, Creed II is estimated to make $55.8M - once again topping Creed's $44.1M opening from 2015.
It hasn't been too difficult for the two Creed films to top the prior Rocky outings thanks to the previous highest opening going to Rocky IV's $19M haul. This new sequel comes close to doubling that old record holder, which includes the first appearance of Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago. Creed II featured Lundgren's highly anticipated return to the franchise as the new generations of the Creed and Drago bloodlines face off against one another. While Creed II is experiencing early success at the box office, it will need strong legs to stay in the box office fight for the next few weeks.
The first Creed dropped nearly fifty percent between its first and second weekends, and it was able to remain in the top five for its first four weekends. Creed II doesn't have to worry about a major new release crowding its second weekend, so the positive reviews and word of mouth should help it fare well next weekend. As long as the ticket sales stay strong in the weeks to follow, then it will become increasingly likely that Creed II won't be the final installment in the long-lived Rocky franchise.
Source: Box Office Mojo