Sylvester Stallone lashed out at Rocky producer Irwin Winkler and Winkler's family after news surfaced that there are plans for an Ivan Drago spinoff similar in vein to Creed. Stallone accused the Winkler family of "once again picking clean the bones" of a character he created. Although Stallone created Rocky, Winkler owns the rights to Creed.
"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 on Instagram Saturday. He went on to apologize to Rocky fans, insisting that he never meant for his characters to be "exploited by these parasites."
Stallone went on to add that he has "nothing but respect" for Dolph Lundgren, who played Ivan Drago in Rocky IV and Creed II, but he is disappointed that his friend didn't tell him about the Drago spinoff plans. "Keep your REAL friends close," Stallone advised his fans.
On Thursday, sources told The Wrap that MGM was developing Drago, a Creed spinoff centering on Ivan and his son Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), who was introduced in Creed II. Robert Lawton was hired to write Drago after MGM executives were impressed by his spec script Becoming Rocky, about the making of the original Rocky film. The news wasn't completely a surprise, as Lundgren mentioned the project in a November 2021 interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Stallone's frustration with the Winkler family is also no surprise, but he has become more vocal about it in recent days. In a since-deleted July 17 Instagram post, Stallone shared an image of Winkler as a serpent with a knife for a tongue, reports The Wrap. "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. "I believe that would be a fair gesture from this 93-year-old gentleman?"
Stallone was reportedly paid about $76,000 to write and act in the 1976 Rocky movie, plus a cut of the box office revenue. In a 2019 interview with Variety, Stallone estimated that he made about $2.5 million in total. In that same interview, Stallone said he has a "zero ownership" stake in Rocky. Stallone also spoke about making another Rocky movie where Rocky Balboa mentors a street fighter living in the U.S. illegally, but that project has not come to be.
Stallone reprised his role as Rocky Balboa in Creed and Creed II, earning an Oscar nomination for his performance in the first film. A third Creed movie is set to open on March 3, 2023. Although this will be the first Rocky movie without Stallone appearing onscreen, he is still a producer of the movie.