Horror News

‘The Blair Witch Project’ – Original Stars Release a Statement Asking Lionsgate for Residuals & Recognition

Officially announced by Blumhouse and Lionsgate earlier this month, a reboot of The Blair Witch Project is currently in the works, which will be the third follow-up to the original found footage horror classic that changed the game back in 1999. In the wake of the announcement, the original creators and stars have each issued joint statements this weekend.

The Blair Witch Project was created by filmmakers Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez – along with Haxan Films creative partners Gregg Hale, Robin Cowie and Michael Monello – back in the 1990s, with stars Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard heading out into the woods of Maryland to conjure up horror magic together.

The actors largely improvised their performances and even used their real names in the movie, with the film’s clever viral marketing campaign leading many to believe that they weren’t actually actors in a movie, but rather real people who truly went missing out in the woods.

All this to say, Donahue, Williams and Leonard are collectively a huge part of why The Blair Witch Project became a pop culture phenomenon, and all these years later they’re looking for some recognition from Lionsgate, the current rights holders of the iconic property.

As Joshua Leonard first explained in a Facebook post on April 11, “I’m so proud of our little punk-rock movie, and I LOVE the fans who keep the flames burning. But at this point, it’s 25 years of disrespect from the folks who’ve pocketed the lion’s share (pun intended) of the profits from OUR work, and that feels both icky and classless.

Here’s the full statement issued by the three actors this weekend…

OUR ASKS OF LIONSGATE (From Heather, Michael & Josh, stars of The Blair Witch Project):

1. Retroactive + future residual payments to Heather, Michael and Josh for acting services rendered in the original BWP, equivalent to the sum that would’ve been allotted through SAG-AFTRA, had we had proper union or legal representation when the film was made.

2. Meaningful consultation on any future Blair Witch reboot, sequel, prequel, toy, game, ride, escape room, etc… , in which one could reasonably assume that Heather, Michael & Josh’s names and/or likenesses will be associated for promotional purposes in the public sphere.

Note: Our film has now been rebooted twice, both times were a disappointment from a fan/box office/critical perspective. Neither of these films were made with significant creative input from the original team. As the insiders who created the Blair Witch and have been listening to what fans love & want for 25 years, we’re your single greatest, yet thus-far unutilized secret-weapon!

3. “The Blair Witch Grant”: A 60k grant (the budget of our original movie), paid out yearly by Lionsgate, to an unknown/aspiring genre filmmaker to assist in making their first feature film. This is a GRANT, not a development fund, hence Lionsgate will not own any of the underlying rights to the project.

The following public statement has also been issued by the original movie’s filmmakers, Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, Gregg Hale, Robin Cowie and Michael Monello

“As we near the 25th anniversary of The Blair Witch Project, our pride in the storyworld we created and the film we produced is reaffirmed by the recent announcement of a reboot by horror icons Jason Blum and James Wan.

“While we, the original filmmakers, respect Lionsgate’s right to monetize the intellectual property as it sees fit, we must highlight the significant contributions of the original cast — Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Mike Williams. As the literal faces of what has become a franchise, their likenesses, voices, and real names are inseparably tied to The Blair Witch Project. Their unique contributions not only defined the film’s authenticity but continue to resonate with audiences around the world.

“We celebrate our film’s legacy, and equally, we believe the actors deserve to be celebrated for their enduring association with the franchise.

“Sincerely, Eduardo Sanchez, Dan Myrick, Gregg Hale, Robin Cowie, and Michael Monello.”

If you’d like to support the cause, sharing and amplifying is the way to go. You’ll find the original post for Heather, Michael and Josh’s statement below, which can be shared to your feed.

Original Source