Sylvester Stallone wants what's left of his rights back from Rocky producer: 'This is a painful subject'
Forty-six years after the first Rocky debuted in theaters, Sylvester Stallone is still calling on the franchise's longtime producer Irwin Winkler to give the actor and screenwriter "what's left" of his rights back.
Stallone, 76, took to Instagram on Sunday with a caps-heavy message to fans that he paired with an image that appears to depict Winkler as a snake.
"After IRWIN controlling ROCKY for over 47 years, and now CREED, I really would like [to] have at least a little [of] 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 ?"
The face of the Rocky franchise called this "a painful subject that eats at my soul."
"I wanted to leave something of Rocky for my children," he added, "but it's always great hearing from the loyal fans… Keep Punching."
Stallone created the character of Rocky Balboa, the small-time Philly boxer who gets the chance to fight heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) in the ring. He wrote and starred in the first Rocky as a young, struggling artist, then went on to write and lead its four sequels. He also directed Rockys II-IV.
The actor expressed his resentment over not having ownership in this franchise back in a 2019 interview with Variety. "I have zero ownership of Rocky," he said. "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 has made millions from his work on the franchise, but wants an ownership stake for having invented the character. He told Variety he didn't fight for his share of rights back in the beginning because "there was a certain code of business conduct, maybe not as much now, but back then, that you don't ruffle the feathers of the golden goose."
He said in 2019 that he was working with Winkler's production company and MGM on a new movie about Rocky befriending a young street fighter living in the U.S. illegally. Winkler had said, "We're very high on it. We're very anxious to make it."
Meanwhile, Creed III is set for theaters this Nov. 23.