The company was formed in 1976 by Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna, who would later together form C2 Pictures. In addition to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Carolco Pictures also produced the Rambo series, Total Recall and many other successful films.
After partnering with distributor MGM, Carolco went into bankruptcy with the production of the box-office bombs Showgirls and Cutthroat Island. The company was closed permanently soon after. Today most of their Library is owned By French company StudioCanal. The US home video rights are with Lionsgate, while the theatrical rights are at Raltio Pictures and television rights are at Paramount Pictures.
- Carolco Pictures worked for a number of years to gain the rights to Spider-Man, which it hoped to put in the hands of director James Cameron. This would never come to fruition however and the rights eventually ended up with Columbia Pictures.
- Carolco Pictures has made many films featuring both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.