Producer Joseph Wolf, who helped launch the “Halloween” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchises, died Sept. 23 in Los Angeles. He was 78.
Wolf graduated from Tulane and then received a law degree at NYU. In 1977, Wolf joined producer Irwin Yablans to form Compass Intl. Pictures, which produced John Carpenter’s seminal slasher pic “Halloween.” When the major studios passed on distribbing the film, Wolf’s company decided to self-distribute. Made for an estimated $325,000, it went on to gross more than $100 million, becoming the highest grossing independent film at the time. He served as exec or associate producer on films including “Roller Boogie,” “Hell Night” and “Blood Beach” in addition to “Halloween II” and “Halloween III.”
A pioneer in the video business, Wolf launched Media Home Ent., one of the largest independent home video distributors of the 1980s, and served as chairman before the company was sold to Heron Ent. He partnered with New Line Films on “Nightmare on Elm Street,” serving as exec producer for the first installment of the lucrative series.
Wolf continued in the business as a producer and consultant and recently exec-produced current release “Hellbent” with his daughter Karen.
He is survived by his wife Marilyn; daughter, Karen, a producer; son David; two grandsons and a sister.
Donations may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Southern California.