Sylvester Stallone called and he wants his rights back. In multiple Instagram posts, the writer and star of the Rocky films called the franchise’s producer, Irwin Winkler, “parasitical” and one of the “worst unhuman beings I’ve ever met in the movie industry,” once again asking Winkler to give him the rights to the films. The first post slams Winkler’s “painfully untalented“ son David, who wrote The Arrangement — Stallone names it “the worst” book, likening the novel to “absorbent” toilet paper. Stallone goes on to claim that the “remarkably untalented” Winkler blocked three additional Rocky movies.
A follow-up post depicts the producer as a snake with a human head with a knife coming out of his mouth. “A VERY Flattering portrait of The Great Rocky/ Creed Producer , IRWIN WINKLER, from one of the country‘s greatest artist …,” the caption begins. “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.” Stallone posted an additional drawing of Irwin, this time as a vampire, calling him the “REAL ROCKY HORROR SHOW.”
Though Stallone wrote all three movies and is credited for the spinoff Creed, he never owned the copyright. The issue has long troubled Stallone, who has spoken out against the studio in the past. In 2019, he told Variety that he had “zero ownership” of the movies. “I mentioned it a few times because after ‘Rocky II’ came out and made a ton of money and then ‘Rocky III’ hit and made more than all of them, I said I’d like to have some ownership since I invented it. And that never happened,” he said at the time. Stallone claims that the studio told him he was paid fairly. Whatever the case may be, Stallone will keep punching.