Sylvester Stallone’s new ultimate director’s cut of his classic sports drama, Rocky IV, subtitled Rocky vs. Drago, will receive a limited theatrical release on November 11. The movie’s exclusive one-night theatrical engagement will be followed by an On Demand release starting the following day, November 12, according to Deadline.
Rocky IV‘s theatrical re-release and accompanying digital premiere is being supported by MGM, which originally distributed the feature in November 1985, and Fathom Events. Stallone initially planned to re-release the Rocky series’ third sequel last year for its 35th anniversary. But that decision was ultimately scrapped as a result of the growing health concerns linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The filmmaker, who wrote, directed and starred in Rocky IV, added 40 minutes of never-before-seen footage to the feature, which was made during the U.S. Cold War with the Soviet Union. Stallone told The Hollywood Reproter last year that the changes will include new footage added to the Apollo vs. Drago match, and the drama will remove Paulie’s robot.
The drama follows the titular protagonist as he travels to the USSR to defend his title again against Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). The fight occurs after the eponymous boxer fought and killed former Heavyweight Champion and former arch-rival, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), in the ring.
The events of Rocky IV were followed up in 2018’s Creed II. The eighth installment in the Rocky franchise follows Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), fought the son of Ivan Drago, Viktor (Florian Munteanu).
The theatrical re-release of Rocky IV, which grossed over $300 worldwide upon its initial distribution, will also feature Stallone participating in a live Q&A in select Fathom locations nationwide. The special screening will also include a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the recut movie.
When Rocky IV was released in 1985, it became the highest-grossing entry in the series, as well as the highest-grossing sports drama in cinema for nearly a quarter-century. In addition to Stallone, who has garnered three Oscar nominations and one Golden Globe win out of three nominations for the franchise, and Lundgren, the third follow-up also stars Brigitte Nielsen, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Michael Pataki, Robert Doornick, Talia Shire, Stu Nahan and Tony Burton.