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Sylvester Stallone Criticizes ‘Rocky’ Producer Irwin Winkler Over Ownership Dispute

Sylvester Stallone came out swinging with social media messages criticizing Irwin Winkler, producer of the Rocky and Creed franchises, and his son David Winkler, who also produces the Creed films.

Stallone took to Instagram on Saturday to criticize David’s recently published memoir The Arrangement: A Love Story, calling it “by far the worst” book he had read. Stallone went on to write that the “unbearable worthless dreck was written by the painfully untalented David Winkler,” with the actor then referring to David’s father, Irwin Winkler, as “the remarkably untalented and parasitical Producer of Rocky and Creed.”

The star continued by posting that he “respected and LOVED” Irwin’s producing partner, Robert Chartoff, who also produced the Rocky franchise and was a producer of the first Creed film before his death in 2015.

“If it wasn’t for Winkler there would’ve been at least another three Rocky’s, that would’ve been wonderful,” Stallone added. “Frankly that crew are the worst unhunman beings I’ve ever met in the movie industry. I will forever love the loyal fans and keep punching.!!! REMEMBER IT FEELS GOOD TO CLEAR YOUR HEART.”

The following day, Stallone wrote in a follow-up post that he is upset over an ownership dispute related to the franchise. “I really would like [to] 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,” Stallone wrote. Calling this a “painful subject,” he posted that the situation “eats at my soul , because I wanted to leave something of Rocky for my children.”

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Released in 1976, Rocky won three Oscars including best picture, and Stallone was nominated for best actor for his title role as Rocky Balboa, in addition to earning a nomination for writing the screenplay. Stallone was also nominated for best supporting actor for reprising his role as Rocky in the 2015 spinoff film Creed.

Irwin Winkler and Chartoff are both credited as the sole producers on the first five Rocky films. Rocky Balboa, the 2006 film that revived the franchise, credits six producers, including David Winkler and Irwin’s other son, Charles Winkler.

Stallone is a producer on all of the Creed films, including the upcoming Creed III, as are Irwin, David and Charles Winkler, in addition to others. The Creed franchise stars Michael B. Jordan as the son of the late Apollo Creed, portrayed in the Rocky films by Carl Weathers.

Jordan, who is directing Creed III, has stated that Stallone will not appear in that film, which is scheduled for release on Nov. 23.

Last month, Stallone told Metro that he had “bowed out” of appearing in Creed III and that the film takes the story in a “different direction,” but that he wished the film well.

Stallone originated the character of Rocky Balboa in 1976 (famously writing a 90-page script in three days) and made it part of the deal that he star in the film as the boxer. In 2019, Stallone lamented to Variety that he had “zero ownership of Rocky.” He explained at the time, “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.”

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“Our commitment to him was that he could star in it,” Winkler recounted to The Hollywood Reporter in 1983, remarking on the making of the first Rocky with producer 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.”

Representatives for Irwin Winkler and Stallone did not immediately respond to a request for comment.



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