Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Anthony Bellew
Release dates: November 25, 2015 (United States)
Running time: 133 minutes
Country: United States
Budget: $35–40 million
Box office: $173.6 million
IMDb Rating: 7.6/10 (291K)
Creed, a sports drama film released in 2015, is the first spin-off of the Rocky film series and the seventh installment. Directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Aaron Covington, the movie stars Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Tony Bellew, and Graham McTavish. The plot centers on Adonis Creed, an amateur boxer mentored and trained by Rocky Balboa, the former rival turned friend of Adonis' father, Apollo Creed.
Despite Rocky Balboa (2006) being the supposed end of the franchise, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer hired Coogler in 2013 to develop a Rocky spin-off. Coogler and Covington's screenplay was finished by April 2014, with the involvement of Jordan and Stallone also confirmed. The remaining cast was hired by January 2015, and principal photography began and lasted until April of the same year, with filming locations including Liverpool, Philadelphia, and Gainesville.
Creed premiered on November 19, 2015, at the Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles and was released in the United States on November 25 by Warner Bros. Pictures, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the opening scene of the first film. The movie grossed $173 million worldwide and garnered universal acclaim from critics who praised Coogler's direction, the screenplay, and the actors' performances. It received various accolades, including being selected by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2015. Stallone won the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Creed was followed by Creed II in 2018 and Creed III in 2023.
Donnie Johnson, the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, is incarcerated in a Los Angeles youth detention center in 1998 when Apollo's widow, Mary Anne, visits and offers to take him in. In 2015, Donnie is in Tijuana preparing for an amateur boxing bout. After resigning from his finance job, Donnie auditions at the prestigious Delphi Boxing Academy in Los Angeles but is rejected. Despite his adopted mother's objections, Donnie travels to Philadelphia to seek the help of his father's old friend and rival, Rocky Balboa, to become his trainer.
Donnie trains hard at the Front Street Gym and falls in love with Bianca, a singer with progressive hearing loss. He fights and defeats local fighter Leo "The Lion" Sporino, but his identity as Creed's son is leaked to the press. Donnie is then offered the chance to fight light heavyweight champion "Pretty" Ricky Conlan in his final bout. Donnie is initially hesitant to use the Creed name but agrees after persuasion from Bianca.
During training, Rocky is diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and refuses chemotherapy. Donnie confronts Rocky and convinces him to seek treatment. The fight takes place in Liverpool, and Donnie gives Conlan a tough time, even knocking him down for the first time in his career. Conlan wins the split decision, but Donnie earns his respect and the crowd's admiration.
The film ends with Donnie and a recovering Rocky climbing the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The keyword for this content is "Creed," which is the title of the film, and the reference to the first film is the parallel between Donnie's fight and the first fight between Apollo and Rocky.