Dec 1, 2023 - News

Rocky Balboa is back for another round

Actor Sylvester and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney at the Rocky statue.

What a Stallion. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Cue the "Eye of the Tiger" — Sylvester Stallone is here on Sunday for the opening of the new Rocky Shop at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Driving the news: The actor's visit coincides with the city's official declaration of Rocky Day, commemorating the 47th anniversary of the film's original release.

  • Stallone filmed several "Rocky" sequels in Philly, plus a spinoff "Creed" series, and commissioned a statue near the art museum in 1982.

Why it matters: The Oscar-winning film — which Stallone wrote and starred in — helped make Philadelphia a tourist destination with an iconic scene of a sweatsuit-clad Balboa scaling the museum's steps and triumphantly pumping his fists in the air while in the throes of a backbreaking training camp.

  • About 4 million people visit the Rocky Steps and statue every year, making it Philly's second-most visited tourist attraction, per the Inquirer.

The intrigue: Stallone collaborated with the Philadelphia Visitors Center Corporation on the apparel store. It will sell licensed merchandise including boxing trunks, "Italian Stallion" robes and more from his Sly Stallone brand.

  • The actor pitched the idea to Mayor Jim Kenney years ago and contributed $100,000 to get the shop off the ground, per the Inquirer.

What they're saying: Kathryn Ott Lovell, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Visitor Center Corporation, said in a statement the new shop is another coup for the city.

  • Some first-year sales will go toward restoring the Museum of Art's East Terrace and steps.
  • "This is an incredibly exciting moment for the tourism and hospitality industry in the city," she says.

The bottom line: Stallone said in a statement that he still gets chills every time he visits the museum's steps.

  • "When I come to Philly and stand on the steps, it touches my soul like it did when I was a child. This is a very special place in a very special city. Believe me, there's no other place like it in the world!"

💭 Isaac's thought bubble: Yo, Sylvester. We only have one question for you: Have another stair run in ya?

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