Associated Press | May 15, 2004

Actor Sylvester Stallone has sued Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and a production company, claiming they stymied his efforts to make a sequel and Broadway musical based on the Rocky film franchise.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeks unspecified damages against the studio and the production company. It also seeks an order allowing Stallone to proceed with a Rocky VI film.

“He looks at litigation as the very of very last resorts,” said Stallone’s attorney, Gerald Margolis. “It means he’s extremely sad, disappointed and put out by all of this.”

MGM spokeswoman Janet Janjigian said the lawsuit is without merit and declined to comment further.

The lawsuit also names as a defendant the former firm of Chartoff-Winkler Productions. A call seeking comment from the company’s successor, Chartoff Productions, was not immediately returned.

Stallone alleges the defendants initially wanted to be involved in the development of a Rocky musical co-written by the actor. But MGM proposed keeping an unacceptable share of the potential profits. After Stallone balked, the studio allegedly said it would develop musicals based on the Rocky movies.

Stallone said he reached a tentative deal with MGM to make the Rocky VI movie but the project was nixed after a producer allegedly demanded his son direct the film.

Stallone also accused both defendants of pulling out of the musical and movie after learning he intended to co-produce and star in a boxing reality-TV show called “The Contender”.

The series is scheduled to air in January, featuring amateur boxers as they advance from training camp through challenges in the ring. The winner will receive $1 million and a chance to become a professional prize fighter.

The suit claimed MGM retaliated by creating its own reality show called “The Real Rocky” with a similar plot. MGM, however, has said its show had been in the works for about a year.