Sylvester Stallone’s Production Company Wants to Be the Blumhouse of Action Films

Dan Doperalski for Variety

“I don’t believe Sylvester Stallone carries around a wallet,” says Braden Aftergood, the executive in charge of scripted development at the movie star’s content company Balboa Prods.

It’s not that Sly, as he’s known to friends and fans alike, is trying to duck out on a dinner bill. He never seems to have his license when the two men arrive at security at the various Los Angeles studio lots where they’ve been pitching film and TV projects since they partnered up last year.

“We’ll get in line and get to the security guard, and they ask for ID,” says Aftergood. “I give mine; then they look at Mr. Stallone. There’s a lot of exchanged glances, and the guards never know if they should demand something from him, and invariably he just passes through.”

Many of the projects they’re pitching clear similar hurdles. Since forming the company in May 2018, Aftergood and Stallone have been silently building and selling a diverse slate of content to partners like MGM and NBC­Universal. They view their company as an extension of the brand Stallone has established during his four decades in the business. Balboa — the last name of the title character in Stallone’s “Rocky” movies — tells gritty stories about underdogs overcoming adversity. The company participates in a $100 million development fund from the China-backed Starlight Culture Entertainment Group.  TOP ARTICLES3/5READ MORETV Ratings: ‘God Friended Me’ Finale Fails toScore Heavenly Numbers

“My goal is for us to be the go-to place for action,” says Aftergood. He wants Balboa to follow the specialty model of Blumhouse, the company behind “Get Out” and “The Purge.” “I appreciate that statement is grandiose, but Blumhouse has done an extraordinary job owning the horror space,” says Aftergood. “There is no reason why we can’t own the action space in a similar way.”