“Rocky” is considered to be one of the most successful and profitable franchises in Hollywood history.
The story of an underdog undersized boxer gets an incredible chance to fight the heavy-weight champion of the world but none of that matters to him because as he goes toe-to-toe with someone who should be better than him on paper, Rocky Balboa has a lot more heart and perseverance.
But Sylvester Stallone just revealed something shocking about “Rocky” and also a deep-seated regret.
Sylvester Stallone was once one of the biggest movie stars in the world and one of the first to join the $20 million club (the salary for every movie they make) alongside Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Stallone has starred in such classics as “First Blood,” “Rambo: First Blood Part II,” “Cliffhanger,” “Demolition Man,” “Assassins” and “Tango & Cash.” Like Schwarzenegger, Stallone sported all the physical characteristics of a movie star like huge muscles from head-to-toe. But also like Schwarzenegger, both struggled with their accents, which made them anomalies that they ever became movie stars in the first place.
But he got his start by writing and starring in the 1976’s Academy Award Best Picture winner “Rocky.” It shocked a lot of people because 1976 was arguably the best year for film with “All the President’s Men,” “Network,” “Taxi Driver” and “Marathon Man.” It’s kind of wild that “Rocky” won Best Picture with that kind of competition.
However, despite its success, Stallone deeply regrets the fact that he has “zero ownership” over the “Rocky” franchise.
He told Variety, “It’s like my brother. It’s the only voice that I can say what I want without being ridiculed, or being silly, or being precious or sentimental, because he is that way. Rocky can’t keep quiet. He just talks and talks and spills his guts. And as a writer, if you do that quite often, it looks as though you’re just lost in the world of exposition. But he’s actually saying something, and because of the way he speaks and his naiveté and gentle quality, you listen. Rocky can say things that my other characters can never say.”
Stallone’s thought process here is ironic for a number of reasons, especially when you think as a 73-year-old he would know that Hollywood just doesn’t take chances on new talent – so while he was “naïve” for thinking he should’ve negotiated better to own at least part of the franchise, there’s no way negotiations would’ve moved forward with that kind of arrogance. It really doesn’t happen.
Also, he’s made at least tens of millions and maybe even a hundred million. What is he complaining about? This is how studios work. They give money to acquire property from writers and you might be grateful to even be a part of it, let alone star in it as well.
What he made on the first one was “I got $35,000 for the first one. The screenplay was about $25,000, then $360 a week before taxes. It shot for only 25 days,” he explained. “Luckily there were the WGA minimums. I made about $2,000 for acting.”
There’s a famous story about how he was so broke that he had to sell his dog in order to survive and then once he closed this deal, he bought the dog back for three times the amount he paid.
Maybe he should be eternally grateful to the producers and studio instead of whining about it.