Sylvester Stallone has quit 'The Expendables' franchise.

Although the 70-year-old actor directed the first movie in the franchise and starred in all three, he has decided not to return for the fourth movie, due to creative differences with Nu Image/Millennium chief Avi Lerner over the script and director.

Avi told Deadline: ''We've got disagreements with Sly, but we've had them for over a year and a half. Right now, each one has opinion. We agreed on 95 per cent of things, but there are certain things in production we don't agree on. I don't think it's over, but what write whatever you want. In my opinion, it's not dead.''

The Expendables 4' was set to reunite series staples Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dolph Lundgren - who played Russian boxer Ivan Drago in 'Rocky IV'.

Sylvester confirmed in January that a fourth movie was on the way, revealing that he had been hitting the gym ahead of the next instalment in the blockbuster action-thriller franchise.

In a video shared on his Facebook page, he said he was working on the next movie, and ''that it was going to be great, fingers crossed''.

He added: ''We're going to do our best. I think we've got some really great actors going, we've got great ideas, everyone's expecting something different and we're going to give it to 'em.''

Until then, talk of another movie had gone quiet since October 2015, when studio Nu Image announced that Chinese funding would enable a fourth installment after almost half of 'Expendables 3's total worldwide box office takings of $200m came from China, with just $40m from the US.

At the time, executive producer Steven Paul said: ''What seems to work in China, is that these movies are good old-fashioned shoot 'em up entertainment.''

Stallone - who has also directed the 'Rambo' and the 'Rocky' franchises - helmed the first 'Expendables' back in 2010.

Simon West took over the reins for 'Expendables 2' and Patrick Hughes on 'Expendables 3'.

Stallone has continued to star in front of the camera in all the films alongside regulars; Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Jet Li, Bruce Willis and Wesley Snipes.