WTF you need to know about this franchise
The Karate Kid has to be one of the most unexpectedly expansive franchises of all time. 1984 John G. Avildsens That karate kid was a modest-budget underdog story (in Rocky mode) starring two unknown leads, Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. At the time, Macchio was best known for playing the doomed Johnny in The Outsiders, while Morita was best known as Mad Arnold from Happy Days. The $8 million film grossed $100 million in 1984, and the sequel, The Karate Kid – Part II — would make even more, grossing $115 million and giving us the Peter Cetera classic (to some) The Glory of Love.
The franchise would die for a while, though The Karate Kid – Part III flopped a meager $38 million gross while The Next karate kid would do even worse. For a long time it looked like the franchise was dead, especially when Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan starred in a well-received reboot. It seemed like people had forgotten about Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi until William Zabka, who played the first film’s antagonist Johnny Lawrence, began to pursue the idea of a sequel. It started with a music video called “Sweep the Leg” directed by Zabka and led to the series “Cobra Kai” which kickstarted the idea of the Miyagi verse and perhaps the best example of a “Requel” (reboot/ continued) represents ) that we’ve ever gotten.
In this installment of WTF You Need to Know About This Franchise, we examine the saga as a whole, digging into the characters, production history and history of the franchise, including our take on which Karate Kid films are important and which ones (if any) you can skip.
This episode was written, narrated and edited by Kier Gomes and produced by Tyler Nichols. What is your favorite episode of the karate kid Series? Let us know in the comments!
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