Sylvester Stallone’s Diabolical Rocky Revelation: Refuses to Make Peace Over $1.7B Franchise Rights

Sylvester Stallone expressed concern about not owning the rights to the ‘Rocky franchise


“You can’t make peace with someone who’s so nefarious”: Sylvester Stallone’s Diabolical Rocky Revelation, Refuses to Swallow His Pride Over $1.7B Franchise Rights

SUMMARY

Sylvester Stallone discussed the hardship and anguish of having producer Irwin Winkler retain the rights to his character and the Rocky franchise
He disclosed that he did not own the rights to the acclaimed Rocky franchise


He has stated that he had to essentially do whatever the studio wanted him to do to get the movie made

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Sylvester Stallone has played some of the most iconic roles in action movie history, but Rocky Balboa is unquestionably his best role to date.

When the first Rocky movie was released in 1976, it became an instant hit, receiving critical acclaim and winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It spawned a slew of sequels, including Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, Rocky Balboa, and the Creed series.

Well, Rocky has undoubtedly grown into a massive franchise in which Stallone has no ownership. Speaking on SiriusXM’s Pop Culture Spotlight with Jessica Shaw, the actor discussed the hardship and anguish of having producer Irwin Winkler retain the rights to his character and the Rocky franchise.

He talked at length about Winkler, implying that leaving something for his family—rather than just the money—was more significant to him.
Sylvester Stallone and Butkus in Rocky
Sylvester Stallone and Butkus in Rocky
Sylvester Stallone Discussed Not Owning The Rights To Rocky Franchise

During an interview on SiriusXM’s Pop Culture Spotlight with Jessica Shaw, Sylvester Stallone disclosed that he did not own the rights to the acclaimed Rocky franchise.

When Shaw questioned the actor about the possibility of “making peace” with Irwin Winkler, the man who owns the rights to the movies in the Rocky and Creed franchises, he replied:

“You can’t make peace with someone who’s been so, so nefarious in my opinion.” 

The Rambo actor, 77, continued, saying that “everyone made out well”, but that nobody should succeed more than anybody else:

“It was all supposed to be neutral. No one had anything more than the other.”

Sylvester Stallone Discussed Not Owning The Rights To Rocky Franchise
Sylvester Stallone Discussed Not Owning The Rights To Rocky Franchise
Stallone discussed Winkler’s peculiar ownership of the film rights that he produced. As he pointed out, Universal Pictures owns the rights to Jaws, not even Stephen Spielberg:

“Spielberg doesn’t have the rights to Jaws; in other words, the studio owns it.”

The actor made it clear that, in his opinion, leaving his family with something from Rocky was more important than leaving money behind:

“I wrote it. I thought it would be nice to say, ‘Here’s the gesture darling here. Beautiful children, beautiful wife. When I’m long gone, this is you. This is what I made for you.’”

Also, he declared that the rights to the Rocky franchise would never belong to him or his family. In an interview with Variety, the “furious” actor expressed his desire for a kind of annuity that could be left to his children after his death:

“I have zero ownership of ‘Rocky’.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.”

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky
Sylvester Stallone in Rocky
Did He Expect To Ever Get Any Of The Rocky Rights?

Despite having starred in six Rocky movies and made appearances in two Creed movies, Sylvester Stallone acknowledged in 2022 to THR that he did not expect to ever receive any of the rights. He clarified:

“No. It’s never gonna happen. It was a deal that was done unbeknownst to me by people that I thought were close to me and they basically gave away whatever rights I would have had.”

Not realizing this was a business, Stallone was initially “excited” to be starring in Rocky. He has stated that he had to essentially do whatever the studio wanted him to do to get the movie made:

At the time he was so excited to be working and I didn’t understand this is a business. Who knew Rocky would go on for another 45 years?

I’ve never used one [line of dialogue] from anyone else – and the irony is that I don’t own any of it. The people who have done literally nothing control it.”

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky BalboaSylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa
Stallone wrote and starred in the 1976 Rocky film, which launched the franchise. He later received Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay for the film.

Recently, the actor starred in the Thom Zimny-directed documentary Sly, which explores the life and legacy of Stallone.

Set to release on Netflix on November 3, 2023, it made its debut at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival.

Stream Rocky on Amazon Prime Video.

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