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“Rocky” Will Cash In

Wednesday, 20 Dec 2006 | 4:20 PM ET
Source: Shotzoom

The plot is all about the underdog. Well, “Rocky Balboa” is going to live up to the underdog role this weekend. No one gave this movie a chance. An absolute laugher. Stallone trying again after that Rocky V disaster in 1985?

Well, wait until you see box office receipts from the five-day take from tomorrow through Sunday. Both Pinnacle Sports and Bodog have the over/under at $26 million and $26.5 million, respectively. I say it hits $30 million.

And I’m betting the total take on this movie is $75 million. That would rank as the second worst Rocky showing ever, but better than Rocky V.

For comparison sake, if you adjust Rocky V (1990) to today’s dollars, you’d have about $60 million.

One of the biggest winners from another Rocky movie will be Everlast , a company that is really betting on “Rocky Balboa.” Everlast did a licensing deal with Rocky to produce co-branded products.

“We have seen that mass media can play a very important role in driving sell throughs in retail,” said Everlast CEO Seth Horowitz. “Our relationship with the Contender was very successful. Our relationship with Million Dollar Baby, Cinderella Man and before that, the Ali movie. All added the overall enhancement to our brand…we expect the same thing from this Rocky relationship.”

Another big winner is Chuck Wepner. It was Wepner’s 15-round bout with Muhammad Ali in 1975 that inspired Stallone to dream up Rocky. But Wepner never got a piece of the profits. In 2003, Wepner filed a lawsuit against Stallone hoping to get his fair share. Well, this fall, Wepner settled. He wouldn’t tell me how much he received, but said he was happy. Wepner is in his late 60s and he’s been a liquor distributor for 38 years.

Also cashing in on Rocky success is the band Survivor, who of course is behind “Eye of the Tiger,” “Burning Heart,” and “No Easy Way Out.” No word on how much money they’ve made from iTunes downloads, but I assume it’s substantial. The band’s story actually seems to mirror the story of Stallone and Rocky. They formed in 1977, a year after Rocky, and they released an album this year called “Reach.”

Watching The Swoosh

We’ll be watching Nike today as it reports its earnings. Since Nike made the turn at $90 a share in late October, we’ve been awaiting to see the day when the stock hits $100 for the first time in history, which I’m confident it will. My prediction? Late January.

Why?

That’s when Nike buzz could hit an all-time high -- and that’s saying something -- when the Air Force 25’s roll out on the market. The 25th anniversary editions of one of Nike’s most popular shoes -- it’s the first Air Force One that has visible air -- actually hits the market on Dec. 26, but it will be a month later when the momentum really hits the market. The classic white on white and black and black shoes will sell for $175, but the streets will be alive with the special edition colorways in extremely limited quantities that will roll out. At least 10 players are wearing Air Force 25’s on the court: Amare Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, Carlos Boozer, Tony Parker, Emeka Okafor, Jermaine O’Neal, Al Harrington, Shawn Marion, Nate Robinson and Zach Randolph.

The Nike iPod Sport Kit is shown Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Mark Lennihan
The Nike iPod Sport Kit is shown Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

There also has been plenty of momentum on the Nike+iPod sport kit. The synching of mileage run to Nike's Web site has enabled people to have exercise challenges with their friends and is turning into an athletic social networking of sorts. Expect Nike to turn that into real cash in 2007 in some way.

And speaking of that, go to Nike.com. There you'll see a pretty cool challenge from Maria Sharapova: "LeBron James, I have a New Year's resolution. I'm gonna run more miles in January than you. If I don't beat you, LeBron, I'll sit behind you at a game and be your waterboy. But if I win, you have to be a ballboy at my match. I'll bet you look really good in tennis shorts."

At the end, it says: "You make the resolution. Nike+ helps you keep it."

More Tony Romo

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo made $5,000 for an hour’s work on Dec. 7. He was at the grand opening of a jewelry store and assisted in a surprise wedding proposal, according to the Dallas Business Journal. The publication notes that when Romo was a backup to Drew Bledsoe, he made $2,500 for a two-hour appearance. Romo’s Dec. 7 appearance was arranged in mid-November, but had it been arranged the day before, he likely would have cost the jewelry store in the $10,000 range.

Marketer Of The Year

Allstate Insurance was named the 2006 Marketing Achievement Award Winner, beating out 59 official sponsors. They definitely had the most hilarious ad of all NASCAR sponsors in which these women are basically dreaming of Kasey Kahne as they get ready to meet him and the woman driving winds up crashing the car with Kahne looking on.

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