Sylvester Stallone explains why ‘Rocky’ would never be made today

rocky behind the scenes footage
Image: MGM

Sylvester Stallone has given a frank interview on why he doesn’t think Rocky could get made today. Stallone starred in, wrote, and directed the 1976 classic, with the movie propelling him from obscurity to megastardom and scoring him a Best Picture Academy Award along the way.

During his recent appearance on The Dave Rubenstein Show, Stallone was asked for advice for young people trying to break into movies. In his response, he agreed with the host that he would advise them to not invest in motion pictures anymore and focus on the world of streaming as the era in which films like Rocky were made is gone.

“The entrepreneurial, grabbing life by the seat of the pants, going by your gut instinct is over. For example, Rocky would never be made today, this never would have happened. It’s over. Godfather wouldn’t be made today.”

Rubenstein asked Stallone if the industry had changed permanently:

“I don’t think it’s ever going to have the golden era that it’s had. The audience, the demographic is different. They’re now watching films on iPhone, so it’s not as if the theater has become this habitual shrine to coming attractions. It’s now streaming shows. I’m going to do one very very soon called The King of Tulsa – and it just allows you to breathe a character, to breathe out – to take ten weeks to film. On a film you have maybe 95 minutes, 110 minutes and it’s all a crapshoot. With films you have a James Bond film – 300m dollars – you have one opening weekend.”

Stallone is referring to his upcoming Paramount Plus show, in which he will star as New York mafia capo Dwight “The General” Manfredi. After 25 years behind bars, Manfredi emerges to discover he’s being exiled by his boss and sent to Tulsa to assemble a new operation. Suspecting that he’s being set up to fail, Stallone’s character builds a new and unlikely crew, who will be played by Max Casella, Domenick Lombardozzi, Vincent Piazza, and Jay Will.

As for Stallone’s wider comments, it seems he feels the change in the entertainment industry is a double-edged sword. While it’s now very unlikely that a major studio would commit to a mid-budget drama and put it out on wide release in theaters, those with ambitions to follow in his footsteps have easy access to film-making technology and a global audience without having to worry about getting it signed off by executives.

The flipside of that is that competition for views has never been more fierce and standing out in the crowd is hard, but success is rarely easy.

The Rocky series will continue in Creed III (though this time Stallone isn’t directly involved), which will hit theaters on November 23.