The Hungarian National Film Fund confirmed his death, calling him a “dominant figure in the Hungarian and international film industry” who was responsible for the development of the fund.
With partner Mario Kassar, Vajna founded the indie powerhouse Carolco, which produced blockbusters including “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” the first three “Rambo” films and “Basic Instinct.” Carolco was one of the most successful companies in the foreign pre-sales business, and a mainstay at the world’s film markets. He was a founder and president of the American Film Marketing Assn., which launched the American Film Market.
Vajna served as producer or executive producer on films including “Evita,” starring Madonna, Oliver Stone’s “Nixon,” “Judge Dredd,” “Die Hard With a Vengeance” and “Angel Heart.”
He left Carolco in 1989 to form Cinergi Productions and InterCom, the exclusive Hungarian distributor of theatrical releases from Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures.
Vajna, who returned to Hungary after a career producing American films, served as government commissioner in charge of the Hungarian film industry since 2011. The Hungarian National Film Fund has granted production funding to more than 70 projects, including 20 international co-productions.
The Budapest-born producer was also an owner of the Hungarian broadcaster TV2 Group.
Antonio Banderas was among those remembering him on Twitter.
— Antonio Banderas (@antoniobanderas) January 20, 2019
Arnold Schwarzenegger called him a “revolutionary force” and “one of the most generous guys around.”
Andy Vajna was a dear friend and a revolutionary force in Hollywood. He proved that you don’t need studios to make huge movies like Terminator 2 or Total Recall. He had a huge heart, and he was one of the most generous guys around. I’ll miss him. My thoughts are with his family.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) January 20, 2019