YouTube Red has ordered a Karate Kid sequel series called Cobra Kai. For those who came of age in the 1980s - or even those who just love 80s coming-of-age movies - there are few films more beloved than The Karate Kid. Directed by Rocky helmer John G. Avildsen - The Karate Kid is in many ways just that Sylvester Stallone classic retold for the teen set, but those similarities have never stopped it from resonating with its intended audience. That said, critics love The Karate Kid as well, with it sporting an impressive 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Of course, what really mattered to studio Columbia Pictures wasn't The Karate Kid's critical acclaim, but rather, its huge box office take. The film hauled in $90 million on a budget of only $8 million, subsequently spawning two direct sequels to the original, a third sequel with a different main character, and a 2010 remake starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. All in all, the franchise as a whole has earned over $500 million worldwide, despite all but the remake sporting production budgets of less than $20 million.
In the current age of sequels, reboots and revivals dominating the pop culture landscape, it's not surprising that Hollywood is about to once again dip into The Karate Kid well. What is a bit surprising is that this latest iteration won't be a film, but instead a streaming TV series. TV Line reports that Cobra Kai - a sequel to the original film - has been given a 10-episode series order by YouTube Red, following a bidding war that included giants such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and AMC.
Cobra Kai is set to premiere sometime in 2018, and in a move sure to delight longtime fans, original Karate Kid stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka will be returning to reprise their roles. Macchio starred in the first three films as Daniel LaRusso, a teenager who became both a close friend and protege to aging martial arts master Mr. Miyagi (the late Pat Morita). Zabka memorably played villain Johnny Lawrence in the original, who trained at the titular dojo.
Cobra Kai is set 30 years after the karate tournament that saw Daniel defeat Johnny, and sees a struggling Johnny decide to reopen his old dojo. Meanwhile, Daniel has had trouble getting through life since his old mentor passed away, and the childhood rivalry between the two soon heats up once again. It remains to be seen whether Cobra Kai will include any references to the events of the sequels. Interestingly, the show is being described as a half-hour comedy, despite the original Karate Kid arguably being a lot more dramatic than it was comedic.
Cobra Kai premieres in 2018 on YouTube Red.
Source: TV Line