Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘Rocky’: Critics Predicted Sylvester Stallone’s Classic Would Be a Box Office Bomb

‘Rocky’: Critics Predicted Sylvester Stallone’s Classic Would Be a Box Office Bomb

Leading up to its movie theater release, Sylvester Stallone poured his heart and soul into making Rocky work. From making those fight scenes appear real to working with fellow cast members, Sly was there. Rocky would become a story and film people have loved for decades.

Back in 1976, though, Sylvester Stallone was not necessarily a box-office attraction. He had done some film work, most notably in The Lords of Flatbush. Yet this movie was going to, hopefully, give his career a welcome boost.

Work on the film continued even though cast additions did take time.

As the story goes, Carl Weathers and Talia Shire were not tops on the list for co-stars. Both were pretty much last-minute additions.

‘Rocky’ Gets Last-Minute Help From Talia Shire, Carl Weathers

Good thing. Weathers as Apollo Creed just nails his character so, so well. Shire’s turn as Adrian certainly took a lot of people by surprise.

Both actors were able to make their work so real life that audiences fell in love with Creed and Adrian. That’s a good thing for Stallone’s masterpiece.

While fans loved it, when the movie came out, critics were lined up to take their potshots. A really nasty review from famed New York Times critic Vincent Canby didn’t sit well. That’s followed up by a rather disappointing matinee screening of Rocky.

This caused some stressful moments for Sylvester Stallone and all those in the movie. That goes from the actors to the production team and beyond. So, how would people seeing the movie at the theaters enjoy it? As it turns out, Stallone and Co. really had nothing to worry about.

Theater Audience Eats Up Final Fight Scene

Once the audience made it to the climactic fight scene between Rocky and Apollo, you almost could simply let the crowd go. Notice I said “almost” because you have a nut or two in any crowd, it seems. But the theater audience got all hot and bothered while seeing Rocky and Apollo go at it.

With the end of Rocky and the overall respect Stallone received after it aired, fans could not wait for a sequel. Oh, they would get one. Over the years, people grew attached to Balboa. They could feel Rocky’s struggles and successes.

Stallone himself has been through the wringer with the Rocky franchise. See, he doesn’t outright own the movie. It’s been a bone of contention for him.