When I first came across the news that a sequel to Raging Bull was in the works, I thought the rumors would dispel pretty quickly. Soon after though, I came across a production still from the upcoming project that affirmed this insensible reality. There were no rumors at all; a movie named Raging Bull II was actually being made. Neither Scorsese nor DeNiro are involved in it either. I originally began working on a post where I would basically do nothing more than complain about the fact that a Raging Bull sequel was being made, but that would only waste everyone’s time.
People can agree that Raging Bull is a near-perfect film. From its gritty black and white cinematography to a flawless script to the ever encompassing, mad-house performance from Robert DeNiro (the greatest acting performance that isn’t Stanley Kowalski), Raging Bull stands on its own as one of the greatest American movies ever made.
I also think people can agree on the fact that sequels are wild cards. Done right they can escalate a film’s fortune to new heights as with The Godfather and The Lord of the Rings. But flip that around and watching a sequel turns into nothing more than a waste of time and money. And as I always say in defense, I hate being too critical. In this age, nothing is truly a failure if it breaks even, and for a Hollywood picture, that is no less true.
In hindsight, a sequel to Carrie was probably not necessary or in any high demand, especially when it came out 22 years after the original movie. Yet as it stands, I have to be honest in saying that The Rage: Carrie 2 is a movie I am incapable of creating and as much distaste as I might have for it, there remains a whole lot of skill that goes into making something of that caliber and that must not be ignored. Hate Michael Bay as much as you want, but put yourself in his shoes and Transformers 2 would probably have been even worse. Maybe it should not be called a movie as much as it is a capitalist venture. Besides, there's no denying that Hollywood is a conglomerate service business that occasionally puts out terrific products the year. Then in this case, Mr. Bay is one hell of an entrepreneur. His $200 million investment into the Transformers sequel turned into a staggering $900 million from box office sales alone. Warren Buffet would be thoroughly impressed.
After all this rambling, I now realize that I have thwarted any attempts at channeling this all back to my original intended point regarding a Raging Bull sequel: it should not be made. But after just defending Michael Bay (given the fact that I haven’t even seen any of the Transformers) I (we) realize that there is an audience for just about anything and if there’s money to be made, all the better. So if someone wants to make a sequel, there’s no point in complaining about it, just don’t go see it.
But as of a few days ago, what was once Raging Bull II is now The Bronx Bull, thus something totally aside from and completely unrelated to Scorsese’s 1980 film. After MGM sued Jake LaMotta and the production company that began adapting LaMotta’s sequel book, aptly titled Raging Bull II, work on the motion picture was threatened to be shut down and canned entirely. MGM claimed that LaMotta "had a contractual obligation to offer them the rights to his follow-up book."
Thankfully though, an agreement was recently made in cooperation with both parties that allows the movie to remain, just not as a sequel. I say thankfully because in the spirit of capitalism and utilitarianism (two sort-of conflicting theories), everything sort-of works out. The movie, although no longer a sequel, can still be made, assuring its makers that they did not just waste x amount of months and lose millions of dollars on a movie that can no longer be made. At the same time, MGM can see to it that their original movie is not affected by a potentially unnecessary sequel. So there, everybody sort-of wins.