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Mario Kassar Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (1) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (9) | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (1)

Born in Beirut, Lebanon

Mini Bio (1)

At 18 years old, Mario Kassar made his first film which led him to team with Hungarian Andrew G. Vajna shortly thereafter.

The two moved to Los Angeles in the mid 1970s to begin their career as filmmakers, and Kassar quickly became known as a creative producer in the L.A. motion pictures industry; also noted as one of the inventors of the foreign market and co-pro financing.

Kassar has been involved with a number of motion pictures within the United States and world-wide. Hailing from the Middle East, his taste in film has certainly been enough to please audiences all over.

Kassar's early efforts as an independent filmmaker began with small scale release films such as "The Amateur" and "Victory" while starting Carolco International, his own independent theatrical motion picture distribution company in 1976. Kassar and Vajna began releasing a slew of independent features and first hit with the release of the Rambo franchise First Blood (1982) starring Syllvester Stallone, which was a major motion picture in 1982. Stallone was rumored to have signed a 10 picture deal with Carolco allowing the sequel "First Blood: Rambo II".

Total Recall (1990) and The "Terminator" franchise are the most memorable pictures Kassar was associated with. Both stories starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, and were produced through Carolco (excluding Part One of Terminator which was financed by Orion).

In 1989, Vajna resigned from his position at Carolco Pictures to start Cinergi Pictures, making Kassar the sole owner of the company.

Other Carolco productions included the under water thriller "DeepStar Six", the erotic suspenseful "Basic Instinct", "Cliffhanger" - a Stallone vehicle also a hit in 1993, the success of the Roland Emmerich sci-fi film "Stargate" established a cable series in 1997 entitled Stargate SG-1 (1997) starring Richard Dean Anderson. Worth mentioning is "Chaplin" with Robert Downey Jr. playing the life of legendary actor Charlie Chaplin.

As budgets for Carolco's films grew, the box office intake and diminishing VHS market began to collapse the financial structure by 1995. The failures of both "Cutthroat Island" and "Showgirls" forced Kassar to file Carolco Pictures into bankruptcy.

Kassar re-opened a production company in 2002 called C-2 Pictures to produce "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," which was one of the most expensive films that year. The 2003 release allowed a window for the franchise to gain new-life.

Kassar, at 58 years old, is still making pictures, however is very family oriented and enjoys committing his time to his real-life affairs. Kassar will be most remembered for helping to create a successful business model for the international market. With the efforts of other pioneers like Dino De Laurentiis, Kassar and Vajna paved-the-way for Hollywood foreign sales and exhibition -- their effort during the 1980s is now the 'industry standard' in today's Studio system.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Trivia (9)

Often works with Andrew G. Vajna.
Served nearly 20 years as an executive at both Columbia Pictures and Tri Star Pictures.
(1984-1995) - Head of his own theatrical distribution company Carolco International Pictures, until its collapse in 1995, this company was a venture through Tri Star Pictures and distributed a number of major motion pictures including "The Terminator", "Terminator 2: Judgement Day", "DeepStar Six", "Basic Instinct", "Stargate" and "Cutthroat Island". Kassar has now returned to work at Columbia/Tri-Star.
Set up C2 Pictures with his old partner Andrew G. Vajna in 2002 soley for the resurrection of the Terminator franchise.
Mario's old production company Carolco Pictures bankrupt after Renny Harlin's Cutthroat Island (1995) because a massive failure because of the loss of money. The film's budget was $92 million however the box office was only $10,017,322.
Lives 4 houses away from Hugh Hefner and the Beverly Hills Playboy mansion.
Mortgaged his house to help finance one of his first films First Blood (1982).
At the height of his success, had an armed-guard at his estate providing security. The only other film personality of that era to go to such lengths was Mogul Lew Wasserman.
An executive at Columbia/Tri-Star Pictures [2003]

Personal Quotes (9)

Whenever I've done a picture I've always tried to make it a fun experience; especially when we were starting out, because it was really tough to get our first pictures made... So if there's no fun, then there's no point in doing it.
I'm not a dentist or a lawyer; making movies is the only thing that turns me on.
Independent film is difficult to produce. No matter what you do for financing, there's always a piece missing.
I think the road to becoming a producer is one thing, the road to becoming a director is more interesting.
I find myself talking to more and more young filmmakers these days and the one piece of advice I give: ...don't force it! If the material is good, the people in this town will know it.
Making more than one movie at a time isn't producing anymore - it's project management.
On Terminator: I enjoy the franchise, but producing it is a headache. ...The Rights are complicated.
In those days when I was bidding on something everyone who was capable got in on it because I had this bubble and this streak going and people wanted to try and take something away from me, especially from us, because we were the foreign guys.
[on Producing] ...If it costs you 1 dollar a day to open your eyes ... you need to make 2.

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