'Rambo III' Will Miss Shooting Date, Carolco Says

Times Staff Writer

Sylvester Stallone's Rambo character is faster on the trigger than the actor himself has proved to be, and the already delayed start of filming for "Rambo III" now has been set back to September and its release until next summer.

After one more change of plans by Stallone, a major new delay in the latest of the wildly successful film series, originally planned for release next Christmas, was reported ruefully Friday by its producer, Carolco Pictures.

It was an abrupt about-face from two days earlier, when Carolco President Peter Hoffman assured a Times reporter that shooting would begin in early June. Friday's announcement was put out immediately before company executives met at lunch with securities analysts in Los Angeles.

The first two Rambo pictures drew $390 million in worldwide box-office receipts, and the new one has been anticipated eagerly by Los Angeles-based Carolco--and presumably by its investors.

Carolco's stock promptly dipped to a new low Friday on the news that the company would not be getting any of the film's revenue this year, as it had previously expected. The stock closed at $7.25 a share on the New York Stock Exchange, down 50 cents. It had dipped 25 cents a share on Thursday. Carolco began trading after going public late last year. Its highest price to date has been $9.625.

Stallone's indecisiveness about beginning production of the picture became a subject of increasing rumor in recent weeks, and was recorded in bits and pieces by the press. One of his qualms was the location, which first was slated for Mexico and more recently Las Vegas. The very latest location, says Hoffman, is "either Morocco or Israel," either of which will give a better look for the story's Afghanistan setting.

Hoffman braved it out nicely with the analysts at the luncheon. After noting the delay for "Rambo III," he said: "The good news is that it is being delayed for a good reason," the changes in shooting location.

Hoffman said Stallone is "ready, willing and able" to do the picture, the script is ready and that "Rambo III" will be the next picture made by Stallone. Also, Hoffman said the new location may cut several million dollars from the picture's budgeted cost of $40 million if it were shot in this country.

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