Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia
Mario Kassar, 65, is a living legend in Hollywood. As the co-founder of Carolco Pictures, he produced more than 30 films in the 1980s and early 1990s, including the iconic Rambo franchise, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Basic Instinct. The 1982 film First Blood, the first Rambo film, cost $14 million but made $125 million, and was Mario’s first big hit (the Rambo franchise would go on to earn more than $400 million).
Fast forward to 2017. Mario is looking for a similar success in Indonesia, signing up as the executive producer of Foxtrot Six, described as an “action-packed sci-fi film set in the near future.” With a tagline of “mankind’s greatest battle will be for its own survival” the film’s summary follows a classic action formula: “In three days, Rangga, an ex-military officer, must regroup with his former misfit teammates to stop a mass killing conspiracy and save his wife and daughter while being hunted down as enemies of the state.” Mario sum up the plot as: “It’s like a mini-Expendables.”
More importantly, the film will be almost all filmed and produced in Indonesia, with the largest budget ever for an Indonesian film (some scenes will be set in Washington, D.C.). “About 95% will be shot in Indonesia, and 5% in Washington,” he says. Aside from Mario, his French co-producer Guillaume Catala, and a few others, Mario says almost everyone involved in the project will be Indonesian. The main star—as yet unnamed—will be Indonesian. The film should be released sometime next year, after several years of development. “I think it is the perfect time to launch this film. This movie will be the pride of Indonesia,” says Mario. “Making this movie in Indonesia could put the country on the map, cinematically, in a big way.”
Although Mario will not confirm the figure, Forbes Indonesia understands the film’s budget is about $5 million—with all the funds raised from Indonesian investors (Hollywood’s Variety says the budget is $10 million, without naming its source). To be a success, Mario needs to recoup his investment, which, if about $5 million, is a relatively low figure for a high-quality Hollywood-style action film. While Mario praises the quality of his Indonesian partners and staff, the costs for production in Indonesia are also much lower than in the U.S. or other locales. “All the guys here are amazing,” says Mario.