Blair Witch Project stars reveal demands for “classless” reboot

Blair Witch Project stars reveal demands for “classless” reboot

After Lionsgate and Blumhouse announced their reboot of 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, the original cast and crew have released a statement listing their demands.

Following the early April announcement of the new Blair Witch Project movie (which is said to be a “new vision”, produced by Lionsgate and Blumhouse), the original cast of the hit horror movie have been vocal about their disappointment. On Saturday, they also released a list of demands for the studios.

Disputes about pay and residuals have been ongoing since the original film was released, as there have been multiple reboots and sequels that followed, none of which had input from or acknowledged the original team.

It all started when Joshua Leonard — who played Josh in the 1999 film — wrote on Instagram: “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.”

Leonard said that the actors made $300,000 each while working on the original movie, while the film itself went on to gross $248 million worldwide. In 2002, Leonard and his co-stars Heather Donahue (who now goes by Rei Hance) and Michael Williams sued Artisan Entertainment for using their likeness in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.

Now, following news of the new movie, they’ve released a joint statement to Lionsgate with their requests. It reads:

“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.


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“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 un-utilized 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 theirfirst feature film. This is a GRANT, not a development fund, hence Lionsgate will not own any of the underlying rights to the project.”

The trio were then supported by an accompanying statement from the directors and producers of the original film, Eduardo Sanchez, Dan Myrick, Gregg Hale, Robin Cowie, and Michael Monello. In it, they argued that the cast’s “unique contributions not only defined the film’s authenticity but continue to resonate with audiences around the world.”

They went on to add that although they “celebrate the film’s legacy”, they also believe “the actors deserve to be celebrated for their enduring association with the franchise.”

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