One of the key catalysts for moving “Rocky Balboa” forward was film financier Revolution Studios. Through Sony’s distribution partnership with MGM, the latest installment was financed between the three parties for a total cost of $24 million.
Not another roman numeral: “(Revolution partner) Joe Roth was vacationing in Mexico and runs into Sylvester Stallone during the day. Sylvester mentions that he wrote another ‘Rocky’ and that he’d like Joe to read it. Sylvester has the script delivered to Joe’s hotel in the afternoon, and (Joe) reads it immediately. Sylvester tells Joe that he can make the film for a price, but that MGM, Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff have the rights. Within 24 hours, Sylvester and Joe run into Irwin at a party. Joe tells Irwin that he needs to read the script. Soon after the trip, we’re all having lunch with Irwin at the the Grill.”
Roots: “No one wanted this to be ‘Rocky 6’ and we knew the press would feel that way about the project. We felt there should be a different way to approach it. In our minds, it was ‘Rocky.’ There’s a vendor in town who makes trailers for us, Robert ‘Smitty’ Smith. He suggested we call the film ‘Rocky Balboa’ since we were going back to the roots of the project. I pitched it to Sylvester and Irwin, and the title stuck.”
Art imitating life: “What Sylvester created in ‘Rocky Balboa’ parallels his life. Sylvester is Rocky, but he’s also Sylvester Stallone who has had his ups and downs. There’s a line in the film that really exemplifies that where Rocky says to his son: ‘It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.’ “