YouTube beat out Netflix and Amazon to snag ‘The Karate Kid’ TV series sequel

Karate kid columbia pictures
‘The Karate Kid.’ Columbia Pictures

YouTube has pulled off a major score for its subscription service, YouTube Red, and in the process has left its competitors Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu all feeling envious.

The site has landed the TV sequel to the classic 1984 movie, “The Karate Kid,” according to The Hollywood Reporter

Titled “Cobra Kai,” it will be a 10-episode half-hour comedy series that features two of the stars from the movie, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. The series will debut in 2018. 

“The Karate Kid” became a sensation in the late ’80s for its look at teenager Daniel LaRusso (Macchio), who after moving to a new town begins to get picked on constantly by bully Johnny Lawrence (Zabka) and his friends — who all know karate from training at the intense Cobra Kai dojo. Daniel befriends Mr. Miyagi (the late Pat Morita), who uses unconventional methods to train Daniel how to do karate. The movie ends with Daniel and Johnny fighting at a karate tournament.

The series, set 30 years after that tournament, focuses on Johnny. He’s down and out but reopens the dojo to seek redemption. Daniel, on the other hand, is successful but is struggling to find balance in his life since the death of Mr. Miyagi.

Josh Heald of “Hot Tub Time Machine” fame will direct most of the episodes. The series will be written by Heald and “Harold and Kumar” franchise screenwriters Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.

The series landed at YouTube after a competitive bidding war that included Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and AMC, according to THR. Macchio and Zabka, who are also executive producers on the show, were heavily involved in the pitch around Hollywood.

“The Karate Kid” adds to other original programs YouTube recently announced, including a Kevin Hart workout show, and separate shows that look inside the lives of pop stars Katy Perry and Demi Lovato. Some of those will play on YouTube’s ad-supported tier, while others will go on YouTube Red, which costs $US9.99 a month. 

Macchio starred in the two sequels that followed the original “Karate Kid” movie. Though there have been attempts to reboot the franchise in movie form over the decades with 1994’s “The Next Karate Kid,” starring Morita and Hilary Swank, as well as 2010’s “The Karate Kid,” starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, none have held a candle to the original movie.   

The original also features one of the best endings in movie history. It certainly seems to be a moment that will hang over the characters at the start of the show.

Watch the scene below: