Fans of the original ‘Karate Kid’ franchise will return to the dojo in “Cobra Kai,” an all-new series that reteams Ralph Macchio and William Zabka in their star-making roles. The 10-episode, half-hour series will be coming to YouTube Red in 2018. Sony Pictures stated that the new series “reimagines one of Hollywood’s most popular tales of rivalry and redemption.”
Thirty years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament, a down-and-out Johnny Lawrence (Zabka) seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo, reigniting his rivalry with a now successful Daniel LaRusso (Macchio), who has been struggling to maintain balance in his life without the guidance of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi. The show is about two men addressing past demons and present frustrations the only way they know how: through karate.
Cobra Kai is written and executive produced by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg. Heald is the writer behind the cult classic Hot Tub Time Machine franchise, while Hurwitz & Schlossberg created the successful Harold & Kumar film series and wrote and directed the global hit American Reunion. Together, the trio conceived of this new Karate Kid storyline that picks-up decades after the original film ends. Hurwitz & Schlossberg will direct much of the series. James Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett will executive produce for Overbrook Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television Studios.
“The minute I heard about this project, I knew we had to have it. The Karate Kid became an instant classic in the 1980s, and still resonates with audiences around the world and on YouTube today,” said Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content, YouTube. “We’re thrilled to partner with Sony TV, Overbrook and the talented writing team led by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg to add a fresh, new comedic twist on one of Hollywood’s most storied rivalries.”
“Continuing the story of The Karate Kid has been a passion project for all of us, and when Ralph and Billy said yes, we knew it had become real,” said Glenn Adilman, EVP Comedy Development, Sony Pictures Television Studios. “We are thrilled that YouTube Red felt the same thing the minute they heard the pitch and then stepped up with this series commitment.”
“Like everyone who grew up in the 1980s, the three of us are enormous fans of The Karate Kid,” said Heald, Hurwitz, and Schlossberg. “Cobra Kai will be a true continuation of the original films – packed with comedy, heart, and thrilling fight scenes. We can’t wait to reignite the LaRusso-Lawrence rivalry, and we’re thankful to our partners at YouTube Red, Sony Pictures Television, and Overbrook for their shared enthusiasm in making our dream project a reality.”
With over $619 million at the worldwide box office, The Karate Kid franchise has entertained millions of fans for over 3 generations. For years, YouTube fans from around the world have also kept the legend of the films alive through uploads of clips, tributes and related content, amassing over 1 billion views to date.