Sylvester Stallone is well-known for his iconic roles as Rocky Balboa and John Rambo, having portrayed these characters in multiple sequels. However, despite returning to the Rambo franchise two decades after 1988’s Rambo III, it turns out that Stallone once turned down a massive payday to appear in Rambo IV.

The Offer

According to a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Stallone was offered a considerable sum to reprise his role in the franchise immediately after Rambo III. However, despite the offer of $34 million, the actor turned it down, saying,

“Let’s not jump the gun here…”

The Franchise

The Rambo franchise has now totaled five movies, with a prequel series also being discussed. While a sixth movie could have happened just after Rambo III, Stallone’s decision to decline the offer for Rambo IV was probably wise. Rambo III underperformed at the box office, taking a worldwide total of $189 million on the back of its whopping $65 million budget. While the numbers don’t seem bad, compared to Rambo: First Blood Part II’s $300 million haul with a $25 budget, it is clear to see that diminishing returns could have spelled disaster if Stallone had agreed to Rambo IV at the time.

What’s Next for Rambo?

Stallone is confident that the Rambo prequel, which has been rumored for some time, is still “going to happen.” It would likely find a home on Lionsgate+, as Lionsgate produced the last two movies. Stallone seems uncertain whether the prequel will see the veteran passing the torch to a new generation or exploring what caused the Vietnam vet to become the man he did.

He said:

“I think it’s going to happen. I wanted to do it like a Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam, where you drop young Rambo in there and he’s this outgoing guy, football captain, and then you see why he becomes Rambo. But what they want to do is a modern-day story where I pass the torch. That’s getting close.”

The Future of the Character

While it seems that we haven’t seen the last of John Rambo, with Stallone having spent the previous few years closing himself out of some of his most prominent roles, if he does play the character in some capacity again, it will probably be in the last time. A TV spin-off could be the right way to allow him to see the character out on a high.


Was Sylvester Stallone offered $35 million for Rambo IV?

According to Stallone in a Hollywood Reporter interview, he was offered $34 million to appear in Rambo IV right after Rambo III. However, he turned down the offer.

Why did Stallone turn down the offer to appear in Rambo IV?

Stallone doesn’t give a specific reason in the interview. Still, he was likely hesitant to commit to another Rambo movie after the underwhelming performance of Rambo III at the box office. The fact that the offer was for a “pay or play” deal may also have given him pause, as it would have required him to be paid the whole amount even if the movie didn’t get made.

How did the Rambo franchise perform at the box office?

The Rambo franchise has had mixed success at the box office. The second movie, Rambo: First Blood Part II, was a massive hit, grossing $300 million worldwide on a $25 million budget. However, the third movie, Rambo III, underperformed, grossing $189 million on a $65 million budget. The fourth movie, titled Rambo, performed better than Rambo III but still didn’t match the success of First Blood Part II, grossing $113 million worldwide on a $50 million budget. The most recent installment, Rambo: Last Blood, made even less money, grossing $91 million on a $50 million budget.

Will there be a Rambo prequel?

There have been rumors of a Rambo prequel for some time, and Stallone confirms in the Hollywood Reporter interview that it’s still “going to happen.” It’s unclear whether Stallone will play the lead role or if the movie will focus on a younger actor playing a young John Rambo. Stallone has expressed interest in telling how Rambo became the character we know from the film, possibly in the form of a Ken Burns-style documentary about the Vietnam War. However, the prequel seems likelier to be a modern-day story that sees Stallone passing the torch to a new generation of actors.

Source: MovieWeb