Sylvester Stallone was the writer and star of the hit 1976 film Rocky and its 5 sequels, but he doesn’t own any of the rights to his creation. The action star is calling for producer Irwin Winkler to give him “what’s left of [his] rights back,” a “painful subject” Stallone says “eats at my soul.”
“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 – I believe That would be a FAIR gesture from this 93 year old gentleman,” Stallone captioned a “very flattering” drawing via Instagram on Sunday of Winkler with a blade protruding from his mouth and a body that resembles a snake.
He continued, “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.”
The rights to the Rocky franchise have long been a point of contention for Stallone, who was paid approximately $75k (for the screenplay and his acting fees) plus 10 net points which earned him at least $2.5 million for the first film, according to his calculation shared with Variety.
He told the outlet he didn’t push the issue of ownership rights at the time 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 has broached the topic in the past but was told he was paid fairly.
The Rocky franchise expanded with 2015’s Creed and its sequel two years later. A third installment is set to be released on November 23, the first Rocky project that Stallone will not appear in. He will serve as a producer, however. Irwin also owns the rights to Creed as it’s an extension of the Rocky universe.