With three seasons of Cobra Kai on Netflix and entertaining viewers, there is an entirely new generation of karate fans learning about Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. Now, these viewers will have the opportunity to watch the film that led to the hit series. The Karate Kid is airing on Sunday night.
The hit 1984 film will take over Nickelodeon, starting at 8 p.m. ET. The movie will air and then lead into a Friends mini-marathon. This airing will provide viewers with the opportunity to relive the original Karate Kid without having to navigate a series of streaming services or try to determine why Netflix removed the movie mere months after originally adding it to the library.
The Karate Kid tells the tale of Daniel (Ralph Macchio), a teenager who moves from New Jersey to California. He runs afoul of a group of bullies led by Johnny (William Zabka), but janitor Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki "Pat" Morita) rescues him. Miyagi promises to teach Daniel how to properly use karate, which sets the stage for a high-profile fight with the villainous Johnny. Daniel uses the special "Crane Kick" move against his rival to secure victory.
The Karate Kid drew positive reviews at the time and inspired multitudes of children to enroll in karate classes. The $91,077,276 gross easily surpassed the $8 million budget and made The Karate Kid a commercial success. The film is still Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and holds an 89% score.
Given the popularity of the first film, there was an expectation that sequels would continue the story of the karate kid. There were more stories set in the universe, but they did not find as much critical success. Though they still generated a considerable amount of money. The Karate Kid Part II grossed more than $115 million, while The Karate Kid Part III reached more than $38 million. The trio of films also inspired a reboot and a series.
Will Smith's son, Jaden Smith, starred in the reboot of The Karate Kid alongside Jackie Chan in 2010. This film took place in China instead of the United States but followed a similar storyline involving a bully and a Kung Fu tournament. Jaden learned karate skills from Chan and secured a win of his own. This new version of The Karate Kid grossed more than $176 million in the United States and more than $359 million worldwide.