Sylvester Stallone slams Rocky producer Irwin Winkler over ownership rights

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Sylvester Stallone wants "what's left of (his) rights" to the Rocky franchise back from producer Irwin Winkler.

The action man launched the lucrative boxing series with 1976's Rocky, which he conceived, wrote and starred in. It spawned five sequels and the Creed spin-off franchise, which will release its third film later this year.

Stallone sold the rights to his Rocky screenplay to producers Winkler and the late Robert Chartoff, so he has no ownership stake in the series despite being its creator.

On Sunday, he shared an illustration of Winkler, 91, as a snake with a knife poking out of his mouth and called for the producer to give him his rights back.

"After IRWIN controlling ROCKY for over 47 years , and now CREED, , 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 from this 93 year old gentleman (sic)?" he wrote on Instagram. "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... (sic)."

In an earlier post shared on Saturday, Stallone described the producer as "remarkably untalented and parasitical" and claimed Winkler stopped him from making more Rocky movies.

"I really respected and LOVED his wonderful partner ROBERT CHARTOFF Who had real talent and SOUL, but unfortunately passed away much too soon," he explained. "If it wasn't for Winkler there would've been at least another three Rocky's , that would've been wonderful ... frankly that crew are the worst unhunman (sic) beings I've ever met in the movie industry."

The 76-year-old previously told Variety that in the early days of the franchise he didn't want to "ruffle the feathers of the golden goose" but he confronted the studio about owning some of the rights before 1985's Rocky IV.

"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 father of five said.

Stallone and Winkler are credited as producers on Creed III, which is due to be released in November.

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