Creed II is now out in theaters, but what can audiences expect from Creed III? In 2015, Ryan Coogler revived the Rocky franchise at MGM and took it in an entirely different direction. Instead of bringing back Sylvester Stallone as the Italian Stallion, the legendary actor returned simply as Rocky Balboa and helped train Michael B. Jordan's Adonis Creed, who's the son of his friend and one-time rival, Apollo Creed.
Creed released in November 2015 to overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, and it that excitement carried over to its run at the worldwide box office. In total, Creed earned just over $173 million globally. While that's not on the level of many other blockbuster movies - especially Coogler and Jordan's follow-up movie, Black Panther, which earned $1.3 billion for Marvel Studios - it was more than enough to justify a sequel, especially considering that it far exceeded Creed's estimated production budget of only $35 million.
Creed II continues to shape Adonis Creed's legacy in the wake of his match in the first movie. And now that Adonis' story neatly wraps up in Creed II, the studio can go practically anywhere with Creed III... if they even want to make another movie in the first place.
Creed 3 Hasn't Been Green-Lit Yet
Creed III isn't officially on the docket yet, because MGM has yet to give a sequel the green light. Considering that Creed II wasn't revealed until January 2016 - two months after Creed released in theaters - the studio is most likely waiting to see how the sequel performs at the domestic and worldwide box office before making any firm plans for Creed III.
The Rocky franchise and the new Creed movies don't require sequels, and MGM can wait for some time before deciding to bring back Rocky Balboa and Adonis Creed for another match. While Creed II's reviews aren't as good as the first Creed movie's, it's expected to earn $49 million in its opening weekend, which is better than what Creed earned in 2015. In the end, money talks, so a good box office return can lead to Creed III.
Creed 3 Could Release In 2020
Even though Creed III hasn't been announced yet, if it is eventually put into production, it could potentially release in November 2020. Sure, Creed II released three years after the first Creed movie hit theaters, but that extra year delay could be attributed to a number of factors, Michael B. Jordan being tied up with several other projects, namely Marvel's Black Panther.
Creed III can certainly be fast-tracked to hit the Thanksgiving 2020 time frame. At the moment, the only major competition during that time is Fantastic Beasts 3 (which releases the week before Thanksgiving, similar to how Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald released one week before Thanksgiving in 2018) and an untitled Disney animated movie. Considering Creed II's competition of Fantastic Beasts 2 and Disney's Ralph Breaks the Internet, releasing in November 2020 would essentially be a rematch.
What Could Creed 3's Story Be About?
Since Creed II neatly wraps up Adonis Creed's story, Creed III can take the character and the series in whichever direction the filmmakers want. Creed II doesn't box the story into a corner, but rather leaves the door open for Adonis to finally step out of his father's shadow and strike out on his own. In that regard, it would be similar to Rocky III. After first losing to Apollo Creed in Rocky and then ultimately beating him in Rocky II, Rocky Balboa was able to make a name for himself in Rocky III.
Creed III doesn't need to bring back more Rocky characters. Instead, Adonis Creed can deal with his own legacy in a sequel and fight someone completely new, someone who doesn't have ties back to the Rocky franchise. However, if the studio wants to continue to attach Creed to the original Rocky series, then bringing back Viktor Drago in Creed III could still be a possibility.