Sylvester Stallone picks the ultimate fight

Can he pry the rights to “Rocky” away from a former Hollywood mogul?

(Photo by John Bryson/Getty Images)

Think Apollo Creed is a tough opponent? Try duking it out with the heavyweights of corporate Hollywood.

In a since-deleted Instagram post lamenting the announcement of a new spinoff in the Rocky film franchise, Sylvester Stallone said, “I never wanted ROCKY characters to be exploited by these parasites.”

This may sound like your average tiff between a superrich person and a ridiculously rich consortium of people, but it’s more than that. According to entertainment industry website Puck, this is “estate planning, Hollywood-style.”

Sly’s big problem…

… is that he has no control or financial stake in the Rocky franchise. Among the owners of Rocky are Amazon (of course), which purchased MGM last year, and 91-year-old producer Irwin Winkler.

  • Winkler bought Rocky off Stallone when he had $100 to his name and was as down on his luck as the young fighter from Philly.

The deal wasn’t unusual. Writers sell rights to studios and producers all the time. That’s how movies get made.

Plus, Stallone has earned absurd amounts of back-end off Rocky films, the latest of which made $200m+ in box office, not to mention a 2016 Oscar nomination (even though Michael B. Jordan was far more deserving of a statue).

But Rocky won’t pay him forever

When Stallone reaches the giant boxing ring in the sky, he won’t be able to star in any more movies. If he were a rightsholder, as he once told Variety, his kids could earn annuities from the franchise.

So, how is this going to play out? We’re not sure. Sorry to leave you on a Cliffhanger.

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