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Sony Pictures is gearing up for the latest installment of the iconic coming-of-age martial arts franchise, and this time, it’s bringing back two legendary stars from different eras. Jackie Chan and Ralph Macchio, both known for their roles in Karate Kid movies decades apart, are set to reprise their popular characters. Directed by Jonathan Entwistle, celebrated for his teen television dramas, the untitled feature aims to fuse and continue the mythology of the original franchise.
The plot details are under tight wraps, but what is known is that the latest iteration will take the story to the East Coast, focusing on a teen from China who discovers strength and direction through martial arts and a tough but wise mentor. This intriguing twist in the storyline is part of Sony’s strategy to rejuvenate the franchise, injecting fresh elements into its established universe.
Watch the announcement video below.
Rob Lieber, renowned for his work on Sony’s “Peter Rabbit” and Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day,” has penned the script. The untitled feature is gaining momentum, and Karen Rosenfelt is on board as the producer. Sony has locked in a release date of December 13, 2024, with plans for a spring shoot.
The roots of The Karate Kid franchise date back to 1984 when the original movie became an unexpected hit. Ralph Macchio starred as Daniel LaRusso, a Brooklyn kid who, after moving to California, becomes an unlikely karate champion under the guidance of Mr. Miyagi, played by the late Pat Morita. Morita’s performance earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.
The success of the original film led to three sequels, with Macchio appearing in two and Hilary Swank taking on the titular role in a 1994 outing. The franchise saw a remarkable resurgence in recent years, thanks to the hit series “Cobra Kai,” which brought back original characters and introduced a new generation of karate enthusiasts. Fans affectionately dubbed these stories the Miyagi-verse in honor of Morita’s iconic character.
In 2010, Sony revived The Karate Kid with a modern twist, updating the story for contemporary and global audiences. Jaden Smith played an American kid who moves to Beijing, mentored by a handyman and martial arts master played by none other than Jackie Chan. The movie turned out to be another unexpected hit, grossing $359 million on a $40 million budget and receiving positive reviews.
Apart from The Karate Kid, Ralph Macchio’s career has been marked by standout roles in productions like Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Outsiders,” the 1992 comedy “My Cousin Vinny,” and more recently, HBO series “The Deuce.” Meanwhile, Jackie Chan, a multi-hyphenate talent, became an action star in China before making his American breakthrough in 1995 with “Rumble in the Bronx.” He continued to star in successful franchises like “Rush Hour” and “Shanghai Noon” and received an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
Both actors, represented by CAA (Chan with Jessica Chen and Macchio with Untitled Entertainment, Buchwald, and Hansen Jacobson), are returning to their iconic roles, adding another layer of nostalgia and excitement to the upcoming Karate Kid installment.
In a groundbreaking move, Jackie Chan and Ralph Macchio are set to unite for a brand new Karate Kid movie, bridging the gap between the original films and the 2010 remake. Directed by Jonathan Entwistle and written by Rob Lieber, the film is scheduled to premiere in theaters on December 13, 2024, with Karen Rosenfelt taking on the role of producer.
Macchio is reprising his role as Daniel LaRusso, a character he first portrayed in the original Karate Kid trilogy starting in 1984. Macchio has kept the character alive through Netflix’s “Cobra Kai,” a series that announced its sixth and final season earlier this year. The show, created by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg, explores the lives of the characters several decades after the events of the original movies, reigniting the rivalry between Daniel and Johnny Lawrence (played by William Zabka).
Chan, on the other hand, returns to the role of Mr. Han, a kung fu master based on Mr. Miyagi, the character he coached Jaden Smith’s Dre Parker in during the 2010 remake. The collaboration of Chan and Macchio brings together two eras of The Karate Kid, creating an exciting blend of past and present within the movie.
To add to the anticipation, Chan and Macchio, in a video posted on YouTube, launched a global casting search for a brand new karate kid to lead the movie. Young actors are invited to submit audition tapes to KarateKidCasting.com, setting the stage for a fresh face to join the iconic franchise.
Since its inception in 1984, The Karate Kid franchise has become one of Hollywood’s most beloved sports sagas. With an Emmy-nominated spinoff series, “Cobra Kai,” and cumulative box office earnings surpassing $430 million globally, the franchise has etched its place in cinematic history. The blend of nostalgia, compelling storytelling, and martial arts prowess has kept audiences engaged across generations.
As the new movie takes shape, the return of Macchio and Chan, coupled with a global casting search for a new lead, signals a commitment to expanding and evolving The Karate Kid universe. Sony Pictures, with its rich history in filmmaking, is poised to deliver another chapter in the enduring legacy of this iconic franchise.
In the hands of director Jonathan Entwistle and screenwriter Rob Lieber, the untitled Karate Kid feature holds the promise of not only paying homage to the roots of the franchise but also introducing fresh elements that will captivate both longtime fans and a new generation of martial arts enthusiasts.
As the release date of December 13, 2024, approaches, the Karate Kid community eagerly awaits the unveiling of this new chapter, prepared to witness the fusion of old and new, East and West, in a cinematic experience that promises to be both nostalgic and groundbreaking.