Sylvester Stallone has revealed the official Rock IV: Director's Cut release date, along with a new poster. In one of his latest Instagram posts, Sly states, "Opening in theaters Nov.11 th ! WIDE SCREEN AND 4 K … So proud of all the technicians that did a great job in bringing this film & battle back to life in an amazing way ! Thank you. Poster by @john_rivoli". We knew that the director's cut of Rocky IV (now titled Rocky vs Drago) was complete and ready to roll - the only question is when it would arrive. Now we know.
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It was just a week ago, Sly posted the first teaser poster for Rocky IV Director's Cut, giving fans an update on the film's release, and premiere plans: "ROCKY VS DRAGO !!!! Coming pretty soon. It will Premier in Philly which is going to be fantastic!"
Rocky vs Dragon was announced last August, with Stallone originally planning for the Director's Cut to hit movie screens in celebration of Rocky IV's 35th anniversary (it was originally released on November 27, 1985). The COVID-19 pandemic obliterated that timetable and premiere plan, but it sounds like these plans are about as close as we're going to get.
Rocky vs Drago will reportedly have several big changes to Rocky IV's theatrical version. Carl Weathers' Apollo Creed and his subsequent death fighting Drago will supposedly get more attention - which is probably good, given how that event inspired the now-successful Creed spinoff franchise with Michael B. Jordan. Rocky vs Dragon will also supposedly add more to Drago's character - but the most noticeable change will be the omission of the controversial subplot where Rocky Balboa (Stallone) buys a robot for his brother-in-law Paulie (Burt Young) as a companion. It was a weird sci-fi bend for a Rocky movie - and got even weirder when Paulie turned the robot into a faux girlfriend meant to stroke his ego. Rumors about royalty disputes with the robot's designer have swirled for some time, leading some to presume that Stallone is cutting the character to avoid that issue.
Here's the synopsis for Rocky IV:
Heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Balboa accompanies his friend Apollo Creed, who will be in a match against Ivan Drago, a Russian boxer who has been scientifically trained, using high tech equipment. When Drago kills Apollo in the match, Rocky blames himself for Apollo's death, and promises to get revenge on Drago in the ring, in the name of Apollo and the United States. Against the wishes of his wife Adrian, Rocky is off to the USSR to take on Drago, and hires Apollo's former manager Duke to help him prepare for the fight. While Drago enhances his amazing punching power using high-tech equipment, Rocky toughens up under the guidance of Duke in a compound in the frozen Soviet countryside, with his mindset on destroying Drago.
Rocky vs Dragon will be released on November 11th.