Stallone a ShowEast icon

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ORLANDO -- Sylvester Stallone dropped, then picked up, the ShowEast Icon Award on Tuesday evening as MGM chief operating officer Rick Sands highlighted his studio's plans for new tentpole movies.

The two came together in a boxing ring at the Orlando World Marriott Center in front of hundreds of theater owners when the glass award slipped away from Stallone, whose career owes a lot to his hands.

"I'm glad this fell down," he said, hammering home the theme of his upcoming sequel "Rocky Balboa," which opens Dec. 22. "It's all about getting up again, isn't it?"

Beginning with "Balboa," Sands hopes to resuscitate MGM with several big new films. He's packaging the fourth "Terminator" film -- it will be titled "Terminator blah blah, not Four," Sands joked -- with a new star likely to fill the Arnold Schwarzenegger role. "It's like the 'Batman' or 'Superman' franchise in that it lends itself to having different actors in the roles," he said.

Sands is in discussions with New Line Cinema to get the rights to produce two prequel films to "The Lord of the Rings" series, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," he said. Other projects he mentioned include a sequel to "The Thomas Crown Affair," set to star Pierce Brosnan, and a remake of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

Before Stallone received his award in recognition of the Rocky Balboa character, clips from all of the "Rocky" films were shown, set to Bill Conti's original theme song and Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" from "Rocky III."
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