“The Karate Kid” is making a big-screen comeback. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the new installment of “The Karate Kid” film series is set to open in theaters later in 2024 from Sony’s Columbia Pictures banner.
There are no details yet on what Sony Pictures has planned here, or even on the filmmakers or writers involved. However, THR noted that the new project is “the return of the original ‘Karate Kid’ franchise.”
‘The Karate Kid’ Franchise Returns To The Big Screen In 2024
The original “Karate Kid” film was first released in the summer of 1984 starring Ralph Macchio and the late Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi. Morita was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in the original film. The film was a box office hit, grossing $91 million.
“The Karate Kid” would later go on to spawn several sequels. The first two reunited both Macchio and Morita for “The Karate Kid Part II” in 1986 and “The Karate Kid Part III” in 1989. Morita would return to the role once more for “The Next Karate Kid,” which starred Hilary Swank, in 1994. A short-lived animated television series based on the film franchise was even made and aired on NBC for one season in 1989.
“The Karate Kid” was eventually rebooted in 2010 with a new film that starred young Jaden Smith with Jackie Chan as his mentor. The film was a success, grossing $176 million domestically and $359 million worldwide off of a $40 million budget. However, it never garnered any follow-ups.
It was not until “Cobra Kai” debuted in 2018 that the franchise found new life and worked its way back into the cultural zeitgeist and lexicon. “Cobra Kai” continued the events of the original three movies. However, it notably brought back William Zabka in the role of Johnny Lawrence, the antagonist and evil karate student, and the protagonist Daniel LaRusso’s rival, in the original film.
“Cobra Kai” presented Johnny as a more sympathetic figure and a man who has hit hard times in his adulthood. Ralph Macchio also reprises his role as Daniel LaRusso in the show, with the series exploring his rivalry and relationship with Johnny Lawrence.
Other cast members of the classic “Karate Kid” films would also begin to reprise their roles on “Cobra Kai,” including Martin Kove as John Kreese, Yuji Okumoto as Chozen Toguchi, and Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver. The streaming series originally debuted on YouTube’s Red service before later moving to Netflix. The show recently debuted its fourth season on the streaming service.
What Does Sony Pictures Have Planned For The Franchise Revival
Sony Pictures’ new announcement on a new franchise revival is curious. The line about it being a return to the “original” franchise is a bit confusing because didn’t “Cobra Kai” already do that? Will this be a continuation of “Cobra Kai,” or a prequel to the original film?
Whatever Sony Pictures might have planned for the franchise, it will be interesting to see what the studio comes up with in light of “Cobra Kai’s” huge success and cultural breakthrough. Considering Sony Pictures Television also co-produces the “Cobra Kai” series, it would make sense if there was some attempt at crossover or involvement there.
The currently untitled new “Karate Kid” installment arrives in theaters on June 7, 2024.