Sylvester Stallone Is Enraged After New Rocky Spinoff Announced
Sylvester Stallone has never been one to hold back his opinions and he sure isn't changing them about Rocky.
Sylvester Stallone is no longer holding back on his criticism of producer Irwin Winkler, owner of the rights to the Rocky film series, a character he created and turned into an Oscar-winning franchise. In two Instagram posts posted over the weekend, Stallone referred to Winkler and his children as vampires who have drained the life out of the Rocky films and refused to give him even partial ownership of the character, according to Deadline. His posts, which he has deleted as of Monday morning, laid bare his frustrations over the ownership – and stewardship – of the characters he created and still loves deeply.
Stallone first posted his thoughts on Saturday when news reports circulated that a Rocky spinoff based on the Drago character was being made. It was a film Sylvester Stallone had no knowledge of, and he directed his anger at Winkler in no uncertain terms. “Another heartbreaker…just found this out,” he wrote in the since-deleted post (emphasis his). “ONCE AGAIN, this PATHETIC 94 year old PRODUCER and HIS MORONIC USELESS VULTURE CHILDREN, are once again picking clean THE BONES of another wonderful character I created without even telling me. I APOLOGIZE to the FANS, I never wanted ROCKY characters to be exploited by these parasites.” Stallone edited the wording of the post several times over the weekend, including adding the names of Irwin’s sons Charles and David to his rant, which included a picture from Creed II of Dolph Lundgren and Florian Munteanu as Ivan and Viktor Drago.
On Sunday, Sylvester Stallone went full savage, posting a picture of Irwin Winkler as a vampire with bloody teeth, with the Rocky character in the foreground, seemingly being sucked dry. “IRWIN WINKLER And FAMILY SUCK ROCKY DRY,” he wrote. “Presumed to be the most hated, untalented, decrepited (sp), Producer in Hollywood and his cowardly children have found their next meal… Drago?” The posts came the same weekend as he was celebrating his brother Frank’s birthday, and filming the new series Tulsa King for Paramount+.
Stallone even called out his friend Lundgren, asking why him he never even called him about the film. “By the way, I once had nothing but respect for Dolph,” he wrote. “He NEVER told me about what was going on behind my back with the character I created for him !!! REAL FRIENDS Are more precious than gold.” Sylvester Stallone later removed the mentions of Lundgren (before deleting the post entirely), but the Drago actor took to Instagram to clarify the situation. He stated that he thought Stallone was involved in the film, which is still in the concept stage. “Just to set the record straight,” Lundgren wrote on Instagram. “There’s no approved script, no deals in place, no director and I was personally under the impression that my friend Sly Stallone was involved as a producer or even as an actor…In touch with Mr Balboa – just so all the fans can relax.” He said reports of the film were a leak to the press.
For years, Stallone has made it clear that he did not own the rights to Rocky or any of its sequels or spinoffs and wants them back. As an unknown in Hollywood in the 1970s, he sold Winkler the rights to Rocky in order for the film to be made with him as the star, which the studio did not want in the lead. He was paid $75,000 and 10% of the profits, according to Variety. Although that deal has made Stallone a fair amount of money over the years, it seems owning at least some of the rights to the Rocky character is a point of pride for Sylvester Stallone and something he wanted to leave to his children. “After IRWIN controlling ROCKY for over 47 years, and now CREED, I really would like have at least a little WHAT’s LEFT of my RIGHTS back, before passing it on to ONLY YOUR CHILDREN – I believe That would be a FAIR gesture from this 93 year old gentleman,” he wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post.
In March of 2021, there was an inkling that all was not well in the Rocky/Creed universe. At the time, Stallone confirmed that he would not appear in the third Creed film in an Instagram post. “I will not be in Creed 3, that’s for certain,” he responded to a fan. Although he did not elaborate, dropping that sort of an announcement in such a matter-of-fact way left the impression that there was much more to the decision that was not being said. The statement by Sylvester Stallone came days after it was announced that star Michael B. Jordan would direct the third film, which has been pushed from a November 2022 release to March of 2023. Meanwhile, Stallone’s latest film, the superhero flick Samaritan, premieres on Amazon Prime Video on August 26.