Dolph Lundgren supports Stallone over Rocky rights dispute

Things are getting pretty heated in the battle for the rights to the Rocky franchise, as Dolph Lundgren steps in to side with Sylvester Stallone

Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago in Rocky 4

The Rocky franchise is well known for its heated battles in the boxing ring, but outside of the epic action movies, the legal battle over the rights to the films continues. Now, actor Dolph Lundgren, who played Ivan Drago in Rocky 4, has announced his support for Sylvester Stallone in the dispute.

The sports movie series began way back in 1976, with legendary actor Sylvester Stallone not only taking on the titular role of the Italian Stallion, but also writing the script for the film. The original Rocky movie was a huge hit, winning three Oscars and picking up a further seven nominations. The franchise has gone on to spawn five further Rocky movies, as well as providing the launch pad for the new Creed spin-off trilogy.

Despite the movie essentially beginning life as Stallone’s very own creation, he currently owns none of the rights to the hugely popular property, due to producers backing him for the lead role, per Vanity Fair. The actor called for that to be rectified last week, and now his former co-star Lundgren has voiced his backing for Stallone on Instagram.

It was reported on July 28, 2022, that MGM, the studio behind the Rocky franchise, is developing a Drago spin-off movie. Lundgren himself spoke about these plans in a chat with The Hollywood Reporter back in 2021.

However, it looks like Stallone is not involved in the Drago project, and his time in the franchise appears to be numbered after it was revealed we won’t be seeing Rocky Balboa on screen when the Creed 3 release date swings around. Stallone will remain as producer for the next instalment.

Lundgren shared the following message on Instagram on August 1: “Just to set the record straight regarding a possible Drago spin-off. There’s no approved script, no deals in place, no director, and I was personally under the impression that my friend Sly Stallone was involved as a producer or even as an actor. There was a press leak last week which was unfortunate. In touch with Mr Balboa – just so all the fans can relax…There ya go.”

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa

Stallone had previously posted his own message to Instagram: “After Irwin [Winkler, producer of the Rocky movies] 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 right back, before passing it on to only your children – I believe that would be a fair gesture from this 93 year old gentleman.”

Stallone’s post has since been deleted and there has been no response from Winkler at the time of writing. Whatever happens, it’s a shame to see the thrilling drama movie franchise descend into such messy territory, and we hope this gets resolved sooner rather than later.