Sylvester Stallone spent the first couple years of the pandemic cutting together a new, much more self-serious version of Rocky IV, but since then he’s been very vocal about his frustration with Rocky series producer Irwin Winkler—who has continued to control the rights to the movies and its Creed spin-offs, shutting Stallone out entirely (beyond whatever money he has already made for working on the movies). Earlier this month, Stallone posted a (since deleted) call on Instagram for Irwin to give him “at least a little” of “what’s left” of the Rocky rights so he can “leave something of Rocky” to his children.
Now the Rocky franchise is going to continue without Stallone, both in a third Creed movie and a recently unveiled Drago spin-off focusing on Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago and his son, Florian Munteanu’s Viktor Drago from Creed 2. Neither project will involve Stallone at all, which evidently means he’s not making any money off of them, and he’s unsurprisingly pissed about it: “ONCE AGAIN , PATHETIC 94 year old PRODUCER and HIS SELFISH USELESS CHILDREN are once again picking what is left OFF THE BONES of another wonderful character!!!,” Stallone posted on Instagram (via The Hollywood Reporter), referring to the 91-year-old Winkler and his allegedly selfish and useless children.
Stallone implies that he would never let them make a Drago spin-off if he were in charge, adding that he’s sorry to “the FANS” and he “never wanted ROCKY to be exploited FOR THIS GREED.” He also included “#no shame #sad day #Parasite.” (For the record, this same Stallone who never wanted to see Rocky exploited has appeared in six Rocky movies and two Creed movies, which is more than the number of Star Wars movies that Yoda has physically appeared in.)
As for why Stallone doesn’t own any of Rocky, it must be one of those old Hollywood deals where writers and creators get screwed while producers get to hold onto the rights (just ask any Marvel Comics writer), since he certainly created the character of Rocky Balboa for the first Rocky movie.