01
Dec
2020

EXCLUSIVE: Sylvester Stallone negotiations for Rocky movie uncovered

Phil Jay 01/06/2020
Sylvester Stallone Rocky

📸 Chartoff-Winkler / MGM

WBN has been emersed in the story of how Sylvester Stallone remains bereft of any monetary rights to the Rocky franchise, despite creating the series.

Stallone’s interview with Variety Magazine in 2019 saw the Hollywood star air his grievances about how he ‘didn’t have even 1% of the profits ($1.65 billion) to leave his family.

Well, according to Stallone’s co-agent at that time, the struggling actor was given a standard deal for that time in 1975.

Craig T. Rumar, who died in 2017, informed son Chris how the discussions went down as he and partner Larry Kubik attempted to pitch Stallone’s movie getting made.

Contrary to what was first reported by WBN, it wasn’t Sylvester Stallone behind the wheel of those high-powered talks with several production companies.

That job fell to Rumar and Kubik, who set about trying to get the 29-year-old the lead role despite the fact he was completely unknown on the big screen.

They managed to do so, with Stallone getting paid for acting and screenwriting the original Rocky, which was a smash hit.

“Mr. Stallone did not directly negotiate with Chartoff-Winkler. Actors do not negotiate with producers in Hollywood, the agents do the negotiating.  Through the efforts of my father and Mr. Kubik, Chartoff-Winkler agreed to produce Rocky with United Artists,” Chris Rumar exclusively told World Boxing News.

Taking over directing for Rocky II, Stallone was again paid for his separate jobs and the rest of the profits went elsewhere.

Craig Rumar’s wife Nancy outlined to WBN that some money was received by the Rumar family, which she assumes would also have been given in equal measure to Stallone.

“His ex-wife, Sasha, the producers –  as well as Stallone’s royalty checks, helped me get through law school,” Nancy exclusively told WBN. “The royalties were supposed to be paid by all three entities in perpetuity.

“Stallone was the first one to announce he was no longer going to honor the contract. I was not in the picture when the contracts were negotiated. But I sure cashed the royalty checks.

“Craig was paid by the contract on Rocky I II and III.”

She continued: “I was furious when the contract was breached. His agent, my husband did not want to fight the Hollywood machine anymore. He walked away.

“The lawyer for the agents is still around, Harold Simon. I believe he is in the Valley.

“I should probably clarify that I don’t know if the money Craig received was royalties or agent fees, but they came from the release of the movie and through the 1990s.

“Whether royalties or fees, based on profits. Actors only get profits if they also own some of the movies. At least that’s my understanding.”

POST-ROCKY I

Chris picked up the story from post-Rocky I when Stallone and his father ultimately and inevitably parted company on the back of worldwide accolades.

“After the success of Rocky in 1976-1977, Mr. Stallone, while still under contract with FAME, left to be represented by one of Hollywood’s biggest agencies,” Chris pointed out. “This is very common in Hollywood for actors to break contracts with smaller agents and move to bigger agencies.

“Mr. Stallone was required to pay my father and Mr, Kubik for this breach of contract. FAME was entitled to some of the Rocky royalties.

“I can reveal that Mr. Stallone never paid my father or Mr. Kubik the money that he owed, which my father said was in excess of $200,000.

Craig T. Rumar

“After years of litigation, my father decided it was not worth fighting with Mr. Stallone. He just let the matter go away. My father died not receiving one cent that Mr. Stallone owed him.

“I always asked my father why he never wrote a book about Mr. Stallone and how Rocky was made into a film. Even though my father detested Mr. Stallone for how he treated him, my father always told me a Hollywood agent should never reveal anything about a client, no matter how despicable that client was.

“In the last years of his life, my father maintained this belief and never wrote a tell-all book.

In honor of my father, and for as long as Mr. Stallone continues to maintain his ridiculous and completely wrong version about how Rocky was made, I will be there to counter him.

“This is the least I can do as my father. After all, his work helped make Mr. Stallone the star he is today,” he concluded.


SYLVESTER STALLONE RIGHTS

Following on from Rocky III, Sylvester Stallone was able to negotiate better terms for Rocky IV, V, and VI. Despite this fact, ‘Sly’ still has no overall rights to the brand.

Even the later Creed movies fall under the Rocky banner. They don’t allow any real control for Stallone to speak of.

Some see this as a travesty due to Stallone coming up with the idea in the first place. Although people like Craig T. Rumar, whose involvement goes largely un-noticed, were instrumental in helping the now established superstar break down the door in the first place.

Phil Jay is Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay