Sylvester Stallone has doubled down on his criticisms of the direction of the “Rocky” franchise, expressing his frustration regarding the newly announced spinoff film “Drago.”
The actor shared his disappointment in a post on Instagram Saturday. Although Stallone does not call anybody out by name in his writing, the star mentions a “94-year-old producer,” a description which would seem to be pointed at “Rocky” series producer Irwin Winkler. Winkler, who is actually 91 years old, has been a target of criticism for Stallone before.
“Another Heartbreaker… Just found this out… ONCE AGAIN , this PATHETIC 94 year old PRODUCER and HIS MORONIC USELESS VULTURE CHILDREN, Charles And David, are once again picking clean THE BONES of another wonderful character I created without even telling me,” Stallone wrote. “I APOLOGIZE to the FANS, I never wanted ROCKY characters to be exploited by these parasites.”
Stallone also acknowledged his relationship with actor Dolph Lundgren, who portrays Soviet champion boxer Ivan Drago in “Rocky IV” and “Creed II.” Lundgren is set to reprise his role in the “Drago” spinoff.
“By the way, I have nothing but respect for Dolph but I wish HE had told me what was going on behind my back,” Stallone concluded. “Keep your REAL friends close.”
Stallone made comments against Winkler earlier this month, sharing a portrait of the producer drawn as a serpent. The actor voiced frustration that he had allegedly been deprived an equity stake in the “Rocky” franchise.
“After Irwin controlling ‘Rocky’ for over 47 years, and now ‘Creed’, I really would like to have at least a little [of] WHAT’S LEFT of my rights back, before passing it on to ONLY YOUR CHILDREN,” Stallone wrote at the time.
In 2019, Variety reported that Winkler was surprised to learn that Stallone was dissatisfied with his stake in the franchise, pointing to the tens of millions of dollars he received in profit participation and upfront fees.
“I have zero ownership of ‘Rocky,’” Stallone told Variety in 2019, sharing that an annuity of sorts that could be left to his children after his death was something he desired. “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 original 1976 “Rocky” was conceived by, written by and starred Stallone, who went on to score Oscar nominations for best actor and best original screenplay. “Rocky” took home statuettes for best picture, director and film editing at the 49th Academy Awards. “Rocky IV,” which originated Lundgren’s Ivan Drago, was written by and directed by Stallone.