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After all, the MGM film pits American boxer Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) against Russian pugilist Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu). And if Viktor is anything like his father, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren, reprising his role from 1985’s Rocky IV), the Russians won’t come off as good sports. If MGM has a plan to counter Russian trolls, it’s being more tight-lipped than the Mueller investigation.
Besides, making Russia look bad comes with another hefty cost: Insiders say China won’t accept films for domestic release that malign its ally.
Still, it won’t be MGM that suffers. International distributor Warner Bros. would be the one forgoing China box office dollars if Creed II takes too much of a swing at Russia.
Creed II hits theaters on Nov. 21.
A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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