LOS ANGELES - Gregg Hoffman, who produced the current hit horror film "Saw II," has died. He was 42.
Hoffman died Sunday at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, where he had been admitted after complaining of neck pain, his business partners said. He died of natural causes, according to a news release from Lions Gate Entertainment, which distributed his recent films. An autopsy will be performed.
Hoffman and his partners at Twisted Pictures financed the low-budget films "Saw" (2004) and "Saw II" (2005) and stood to reap millions of dollars from their success. The first film cost $1million to make and grossed more than $102 million in DVD and box office revenue; the sequel cost $4 million and has made $86 million at the box office in six weeks.
"We've won the lottery," Hoffman, a former Walt Disney Co. executive, told the Los Angeles Times in November.
Hoffman's colleagues and family described him as a modest man in an ego-driven industry.
"He never put himself in front of anybody," said Oren Koules, one of his Twisted Pictures partners. "He never did anything for the ego — everything he did was for the betterment of the movie."
Hoffman began working for Disney in 1995, rising to become a senior vice president of production and earning a producer credit on "George of the Jungle" (1997).
He joined Koules and Mark Burg at their management and production company, Evolution Entertainment, in 2003. Soon after, the self-professed horror film fanatic saw an 8-minute short movie about a serial killer called "Saw," which he believed would make lots of money as a full-length feature.
"He discovered this movie, brought it in and talked us into making it. He was the driving force behind it," Koules said.
In the summer of 2003, the three partners assembled the financing for "Saw" and started Twisted Pictures to make more low-budget horror movies.
The "Saw" films' success led to multi-picture development deals with Lions Gate and Dimension Films. Hoffman was working on the movies "Saw III" and "Crawlspace" when he died.
He is survived by his wife, Lucienne; children, Jared and Luke; mother, Stephanie; and sister, Tracy.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com