Sylvester Stallone Slams Rocky Producer Amidst Rights Rift

The Rocky franchise has been lucrative over the years, spanning 6 Rocky films and a sequel series, Creed, that has, so far, had two films with a third due out in November 2022. But things are not harmonious behind the scenes as a rift has grown between the producer of the Rocky films and their writer and star. And much like his most famous role, Sylvester Stallone has taken off the gloves and is pulling no punches as he fights for what he believes in.

In an Instagram post from July 17, Stallone posted a picture of Rocky producer Irwin Winkler as a snake with a knife for a tongue, a fairly disturbing bit of imagery showing disdain for the producer. In the caption, Stallone writes, “A VERY Flattering portrait of The Great Rocky/ Creed Producer , IRWIN WINKLER, from one of the country‘s greatest artist … ALSO 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 ?”


As part of an interview with Variety Magazine in 2019, Stallone said, “I have zero ownership of Rocky. 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.” And when asked why he did not push harder for the rights, he added: “You don’t want to ruffle the feathers of the golden goose.”

Stallone ends the Instagram post by saying, “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.”

Rocky Would Not Exist Without Stallone

United Artists

As closely associated with Rocky as Sylvester Stallone is, the actor may have a point in the argument. Rocky Balboa is easily Stallone’s most famous role. While it was not his first role in Hollywood, Rocky was the role that put Stallone in front of millions of eyes, and it was the beginning of his star-making turn.

Stallone wrote the script for the first Rocky movie, and it was a passion project for him. As the story goes, Stallone had $106 in the bank, no car and was trying to sell his dog because he just couldn’t afford to feed him when Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff approached him with a deal to pay $350,000 for the rights for the Rocky script. Stallone agreed only as long as he was able to star in the title role. The deal was struck. Stallone had his star-making role and Winkler has owned the movie rights to the character ever since.

It’s a pity that the two parties seem to be at odds over the rights to Rocky, considering that both parties have received great benefits over the years from the franchise. Hopefully, Stallone and Winkler can, one day, resolve this feud over the rights to perhaps the greatest sports movie franchise of all time.

In the meantime, the newest movie in the franchise, the third in the Creed franchise, arrives in November 2022. It will be the first movie in the entire franchise to have no involvement from Stallone, likely adding to the star’s animosity towards Winkler.