Sylvester Stallone ignited a long-running Rocky vs Drago feud over the rights to a new franchise spin-off starring Dolph Lundgren.
Rocky producer Irwin Winkler plans to create another series without Stallone’s involvement.
Sylvester Stallone Drago
The original Rocky actor – who sold the rights to the script for just $75,000 in 1975 – is livid with another money-making attempt to prolong the saga.
On the back of the Creed spin-off, in which Stallone was a producer for two movies until bowing out gracefully, Drago is now in pre-production.
Stallone had himself brought Lundgren back for Creed II. Now he says Winkler and the Scandinavian actor stabbed him in the back over the next move.
“Another Heartbreaker,” said an irked Stallone. “I just found this out.
“Once again, Irwin Winkler – this pathetic 94-year-old producer and his moronic vulture children Charles And David, 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.”
Directing his attention to Lundgren, who Stallone brought back to Hollywood for “The Expendables” when his career hit the skids, he added: “By the way, I once had nothing but respect for Dolph, but 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.”
On Winkler taking advantage of Stallone’s move in casting Lundgren as Drago again in Creed II, Stallone stated: “Irwin Winkler and his family suck Rocky dry!
“Presumed to be Hollywood’s most hated, untalented, decrepit producer. [Winkler and] his cowardly children have found their next meal -Drago?
“Throughout history, so many artists in every industry, recording, painting, writing. You name it, have been destroyed by these bloodsuckers!
“They have destroyed so many families, lining their pockets with other people’s work. [They are] parasite producers [and] exploited artists [as] victims.”
Stallone asked Winkler for the rights to his franchise back in 2018. The actor explained to Variety Magazine that he was told there was nothing he could do about other people owning his work.
“I mentioned it a few times because after “Rocky II” came out. They 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. So I have zero ownership of Rocky.
“I was told it just doesn’t happen. No one has it. And look, they’re giving you more money on “Rocky III.” They took their chances, and you’re not entitled to it.”
“I never really pushed it. By the time we got around to “Rocky Balboa,” I was in a pretty weak position to say anything.
“I was in a slump, and it was pretty intense. There was a great sense of finality about it. I couldn’t get arrested. I was let go by my agency. Dropped — fired basically.”
Rocky image rights
Asked about image rights and using his likeness to make even more money from Rocky, Stallone replied: “They had 100 different licenses.
“They said this is all going to be put into the pot, which would have meant hundreds of millions of dollars over 45 years. I’ve never seen that pot.”
It’s a sad situation and doesn’t seem right. However, Hollywood has always been a cut-throat business, as Stallone has found out the hard way.
It doesn’t seem right that the owner wouldn’t at least be given a piece of the profits if they extended as far as Rocky does over 45 and more years.
The thing that seems to hurt the most is that Dolph Lundgren didn’t go to Stallone first. A shame.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.