Carolco Pictures Inc. announced today the return of producer Mario Kassar as chairman of the board of directors of the company he co-founded almost four decades ago.

Kassar, 63, was the executive producer of a slew of blockbusters, including the “Rambo” films, “Basic Instinct,” “Total Recall” and two of the “Terminator” movies, along with “Cliffhanger,” “Stargate,” “Rambling Rose,” “The Doors” and “LA Story.”

“One of my greatest joys in life was being the chairman of Carolco Pictures … I am elated to return to that position, to produce the world’s greatest movies once again under the Carolco brand for my fans and people everywhere to enjoy,” Kassar said.

“The major difference between now and then are the advances in technology and cinematography not previously available to Carolco Pictures 20 years ago,” he said. “Combined with these advances … the best movies I will ever produce are still yet to come.”

Alex Bafer, Carolco Pictures’ CEO, said Kassar “is hands-down the world’s greatest producer of mega-hit films. We couldn’t be more excited than to have Mario return as the chairman of the board. Our goal now is to not only restore the Carolco brand back to its rightful place in Hollywood, but also to build an entirely new library of memorable films for today’s generation.”

Kassar began his filmmaking career with a small-scale release film “The Amateur,” followed by “Victory,” a large-scale release. In 1976, he and Andrew Vajna co-founded Carolco, which became a major force among independent production companies.

Carolco’s first production venture introduced John Rambo to audiences in “First Blood,” a 1982 Sylvester Stallone action adventure that grossed $120 million worldwide. Three years later, the company released “Rambo: First Blood Part II,” which grossed $300 million worldwide.

In late 1989, Kassar became the sole shareholder and chairman of Carolco, and subsequently produced such films as “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “Basic Instinct” and “Chaplin,” which earned Robert Downey Jr. an Oscar nomination.

In 1998, Kassar re-teamed with Vajna to form C-2 Pictures. They produced “I-Spy” with Eddie Murphy for Sony Pictures and “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” in 2003.

&mdsah; City News Service

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