It probably comes as no surprise that the worst-grossing film in the history of the “Rocky” franchise is none other than “Rocky V,” which was released in 1990. By the time it hit theaters, five years had passed since the series reached its box-office peak with the $300-plus million-grossing “Rocky IV.” Clearly, absence did not make the heart grow fonder.
“Rocky V” grossed just under $120 million at the worldwide box office. And while that’s a fine return on investment when one considers it had an estimated production budget of $42 million, per IMDb, the steep drop from the previous film was enough for producers to put the Italian Stallion on ice for 16 years before bringing him back for “Rocky Balboa.”
The movie also marked the rock-bottom point for the series from a creative standpoint. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, “Rocky V” has an approval rating of just 30%. In a 2001 retrospective review for the BBC, Almar Haflidason wrote, “like watching some favorite relative die, Stallone subjects the viewer to a miserable and pathetic end for such an enduring character.”
It may not have been a knockout punch for the series, but “Rocky V” probably warranted a standing eight-count at the least.