Stallone back in action with 2-film deal

Mon Feb 4, 2008 2:31am EST
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By Gregg Goldstein

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Boxoffice comeback champ Sylvester Stallone has inked a lucrative deal to direct and star in two action films with "Rambo" producers Danny Dimbort,

Several scripts are being considered for follow-ups to his surprise hit sequels to "First Blood" and "Rocky." With Nu Image/Millennium's new Writers Guild of America interim deal speeding up the process, the first script is expected to be ready by the fall, with production set to begin shortly thereafter.

"The past year and a half of working with Avi, his partners Danny and Trevor and his film family has been nothing but a high point for me and my career and an extremely rewarding experience," Stallone said. "Avi is a real gentleman and a man of his word."

Stallone will produce the films with Kevin King-Templeton and Lerner. Dimbort, Short and Boaz Davidson will serve as executive producers.

It's a deal few would have expected just a few years ago, when Stallone followed up his role in "Spy Kids 3D: Game Over" with a failed network boxing reality TV series, "The Contender." But in 2006, Stallone wrote, directed and starred in "Rocky Balboa," the sixth "Rocky" film, 16 years after the previous sequel in the franchise. The MGM release grossed $70 million on an estimated $24 million budget.

The second part of Stallone's one-two punch came with the current release "Rambo," which he also stars in, wrote and directed. The film, distributed by Lionsgate, made $18.2 million in its opening weekend and earned an estimated $25 million in its first 10 days of release.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>Sylvester Stallone poses during a photocall to promote the movie "Rambo" in Madrid January 28, 2008. REUTERS/Susana Vera</p>