Sylvester Stallone hits out at Rocky producer over ownership rights

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky
(Image credit: United Artists)

Sylvester Stallone has called out Rocky producer Irwin Winkler on social media over a dispute surrounding ownership rights to the franchise. Stallone wrote and starred in the original movie, which has spawned five sequels and three spin-off Creed movies.

Stallone, who has previously said he has no ownership of the Rocky character or franchise, posted a picture of Winkler as a snake with a knife coming from his mouth on Instagram with the caption: "A VERY flattering portrait of The Great Rocky/Creed "Producer, IRWIN WINKLER, from one of the country's greatest artist."

He continued: 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? 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" 

Stallone previously told Variety that he has "zero ownership of Rocky," explaining: "When I finally confronted them [just before Rocky 4 in 1985], I said, 'Does it bother you guys that I've written every word, I've choreographed it, I've been loyal to you, I've promoted it, directed it and I don't have 1% that I could leave for my children?' And the quote was, 'You got paid.' And that was the end of the conversation."

The actor also took to Instagram to talk about a book penned by David Winkler, son of Irwin Winkler. In that post, Stallone described Irwin as "the remarkably untalented and parasitical Producer of Rocky and Creed." He added: "If it wasn't for Winkler there would've been at least another three Rockys, that would've been wonderful … frankly that crew are the worst unhunman beings I've ever met in the movie industry."

"Our commitment to him was that he could star in it," Irwin Winkler told The Hollywood Reporter way back in 1983, referring to himself and producer Robert Chartoff. "We convinced United Artists to give us the money to make it. They would only give us a limited amount of money, and they said that we had to put up our houses as collateral. We really mortgaged ourselves to make sure that we brought it in on time, and we did."

Creed 3, which will not star Stallone, though the actor produces beside Winkler and his sons, Charles and David Winkler, is out this November 23. The Winklers have not commented on Stallone's most recent posts. While we wait for Creed 3, check out our roundup of all of 2022's major movie release dates for everything else the year has in store for us. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.