Sylvester Stallone is escalating his battle with “Rocky” producer Irwin Winkler over ownership of the characters he created by attacking the upcoming spinoff sequel “Drago”.
TheWrap recently broke the news that MGM was developing the project, which will star Dolph Lundgren reprising his “Rocky IV” role as Russian boxer Ivan Drago. Not only will Stallone have no association with the project, he first learned it was happening by reading The Wrap‘s report.
Stallone has been embroiled in a dispute with Winkler and his grown children over ownership of the “Rocky” franchise.
“Another Heartbreaker… Just found this out…ONCE AGAIN , this PATHETIC 94 year old PRODUCER and HIS MORONIC USELESS VULTURE CHILDREN, Charles And David , are once again picking clean THE BONES of another wonderful character I created without even telling me,” wrote Stallone in a since-deleted Instagram post responding to the news that “Drago” had been greenlit.
“I APOLOGIZE to the FANS , I never wanted ROCKY characters to be exploited by these parasites,” Stallone continued. (According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stallone apparently altered the Instagram post by deleting the sentence, “Seriously, how do you weasels look in mirror???” In addition, the original post’s apology to fans read, “I am sorry to the FANS , I APOLOGIZE to the FANS I never wanted ROCKY to be exploited FOR THIS GREED.”)
Stallone concluded his post insisting there was no bad blood between him and Lundgren, who also co-stars with him in the “Expendables” franchise.
“By the way, I have nothing but respect for my true friend, Dolph Lundgren,” Stallone added.
Stallone doubled down on Twitter, taking another shot at Winkler.
“I’d like to congratulate Irwin Winkler and family beating another wonderful character into the ground! # no shame,” he wrote.
I’d like to congratulate Irwin Winkler and family beating another wonderful character into the ground! # no shame https://t.co/dy2TEkqCni
— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) July 30, 2022
In a previous Instagram post, which has since been deleted, Stallone slammed Winkler as “the remarkably untalented and parasitical Producer of Rocky and Creed.”
Stallone wrote, “If it wasn’t for Winkler there would’ve been at least another three ‘Rocky’’s, that would’ve been wonderful,” adding, “Frankly that crew are the worst unhuman beings I’ve ever met in the movie industry. I will forever love the loyal fans and keep punching.!!! REMEMBER IT FEELS GOOD TO CLEAR YOUR HEART.”
Stallone followed up with another post (which has also been deleted) hinting at his issues with Winkler over ownership of “Rocky”.
“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,” Stallone wrote. “I believe That would be a FAIR gesture from this 93 year old gentleman? This is a painful subject that eats at my soul , because I wanted to leave something of ‘Rocky’ for my children, but it’s always great hearing from the loyal fans…Keep Punching.”
Lundgren has since set the record straight on Instagram regarding the spinoff rumours.
Back in 2019, Stallone told Variety that he has “zero ownership” of “Rocky.”
“Every word, every syllable, every grammatical error was all my fault. It was shocking that it never came to be, but I was told, ‘Hey, you got paid, so what are you complaining about?’ I was furious,” Stallone said.
“I mentioned it a few times because after ‘Rocky II’ came out and made a ton of money and then ‘Rocky III’ hit and made more than all of them, I said I’d like to have some ownership since I invented it. And that never happened,” he continued, revealing he confronted the studio over the issue prior to “Rocky IV” in 1985, telling execs, “Does it bother you guys that I’ve written every word, I’ve choreographed it, I’ve been loyal to you, I’ve promoted it, directed it and I don’t have 1 percent that I could leave for my children?”
The response he received: “‘You got paid.’ And that was the end of the conversation.”