Sylvester Stallone Says He Has 'Zero Ownership' of 'Rocky' Despite Creating the Franchise
By Scott Baumgartner
Gisela Schober/Getty Images
Sylvester Stallone is finally clearing the air regarding a grudge he’s carried for over 40 years.
The 73-year-old leading man covers the latest issue of Variety and in the cover story, he discusses being deprived of an equity stake in the Rocky franchise, which he created and starred in. Although Stallone has profited greatly from the Rocky films and Creed spinoffs, he never got an annuity, which he could hand down to his children after his death.
"I have zero ownership of Rocky," he explained. "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."
The action star blames inexperience in his early years in the industry for not lobbying harder to have a stake in Rocky, stating, "You don’t want to ruffle the feathers of the golden goose."
According to Stallone, he made around $2.5 million for the original 1976 film, which won the Best Picture Oscar, made him a movie star and cleared the way for the extremely profitable sequels, but this doesn’t include equity in the franchise. However, this sentiment received pushback from Irwin Winkler, who produced all the Rocky and Creed movies. The legendary producer says Stallone profits from the franchise in a number of ways besides upfront fees.
As for Stallone’s $2.5 million payday on the original, Winkler says, "He made way, way more than that — of that I am sure."
In the interview, Stallone also divulged that he is working on another Rocky film, which he is in negotiations to write and star in. This contradicts an Instagram post Stallone shared in November 2018 where he hinted that, after Creed II, he was done playing Rocky.
"I just want to thank everyone around the whole wide World for taking the Rocky family into their hearts for over 40 years," he captioned a clip in the desert with Michael B. Jordan. "It’s been my Ultimate privilege to have been able to create and play this meaningful character. Though it breaks my heart, Sadly, all things must pass... and end. I love you Kind and generous people, and The most wonderful thing of all, is that ROCKY will never die because he lives on in you."
The storyline of the new film follows the legendary boxer befriending a young street fighter who is in the U.S. illegally. Stallone also revealed that he’s in talks for a Rocky prequel TV series, which could end up on a streaming platform.