Nostalgia is a very powerful tool these days, and Hollywood is more than happy to capitalize on it at every available opportunity when it comes to developing new film and television projects. However, warm and fuzzy memories alone aren’t responsible for the massive success of Karate Kid sequel series Cobra Kai, which overcame humble origins to become one of the most popular shows on the planet.
After all, the big screen franchise has suffered plenty of ups and downs since the first installment punctured pop culture back in 1984, with Pat Morita earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor thanks to his instantly iconic turn as Mr. Miyagi. The following two sequels failed to recapture the magic, and fourth entry The Next Karate Kid is more notable for starring Hilary Swank in the first leading role of her career rather than anything that actually happens in the movie. Meanwhile, the remake roped in Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith for a box office smash which went on to earn almost $360 million.
Cobra Kai picks up 30 years after the original, with Ralph Macchio and William Zabka renewing their onscreen rivalry as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. Initially a YouTube exclusive, Netflix executives quickly took notice of the numbers that the show was pulling in, and ended up acquiring the distribution rights to seasons 1 and 2 as well as assuming production duties for the third outing.
50 million subscribers watched the first two runs of Cobra Kai in the four weeks after they were added to the content library, with the upcoming season 3 is poised to be a monster hit when all ten episodes arrive on January 8th. In fact, judging by the trailer up above, it stands a genuine chance of becoming one of the streaming service’s biggest TV debuts ever.