Home Entertainment News Blair Witch Project Cast Challenges Lionsgate Over Reboot and Unpaid Profits

Blair Witch Project Cast Challenges Lionsgate Over Reboot and Unpaid Profits

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Hollywood
HOLLYWOOD sign on blue sky background. World famous landmark. USA. Los Angeles, California. 09-11-2012. - Image (Mulevich / Shutterstock.com)

Key Takeaways:

* The original Blair Witch Project cast is protesting against Lionsgate's announced reboot.
* The cast reveals their struggles following the film's 1999 success.
* Joshua Leonard, Heather Donahue, and Michael C. Williams demand and say they had no control over the film's promotion.
* A lawsuit led to a mere $300,000 payout for each while producers made $35 million.
* The cast wants future consultation on Blair Witch projects and proper residuals for their part in the original film.

Complete Article

Actors Argue Against Lionsgate's Reboot Plan

The original cast of The Blair Witch Project has spoken out against Lionsgate following the production house's recent announcement at CinemaCon. Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard were hired in 1997 by Haxan with their real names used in the film, a practice they didn't agree to. Following the film's Sundance sensation, the actors faced numerous challenges as they were caught in a web of secrecy spun by the film's directors and Artisan Entertainment.

Artisan's Strict Promotional Strategies

Artisan Entertainment purchased the film for $1.1 million and adopted stringent promotional strategies. The production company barred the actors from appearing at the Cannes Film Festival. Donahue was even prohibited from booking any interviews at Cannes, despite having a publicist. Leonard was forced to drop out of an he had signed on for due to Artisan's ban on revealing his true identity.

The Actors' Tough Journey Post-Release

Leonard shared his struggles in a recent Variety . He confessed that he was unable to make any money from the movie and struggled to pay the rent. Despite the film's massive success, earning a astounding $248 million worldwide, the three actors only received a fruit basket when the film crossed the $100 million mark.

Artisan then announced a , Blair Witch 2, leading to a legal spat with the actors. By 2004, when a settlement was reached, each actor received a meager compensation of $300,000, in stark contrast to the film's producers who bagged at least $35 million from the movie's success.

Challenging Lionsgate's Reboot with an Open Letter

Donahue, Williams, and Leonard were by surprise when Lionsgate proposed a reboot of the original film. The news prompted them to send an open letter to Lionsgate. They demanded retroactive and future residual payments for their roles in the original Blair Witch Project, alongside consultation on any future Blair Witch projects.

Despite having the backing of SAG-AFTRA, the actors are limited in their appeal due to the film's nonunion production. The experience so soured Donahue and Williams that they have stepped away from acting, whereas Leonard continues to pursue his despite his past struggles.

Reflecting on the Blair Witch Debacle

While this action by the original Blair Witch Project cast brings attention to unaddressed issues regarding credit and financial compensation in , it also sheds light on the corporate machinations often utilized to maximize profits at the potential expense of the individuals involved.

Despite the challenges they faced, the actors remain hopeful of receiving fair treatment, explaining their experiences as a cautionary tale for the actors of today. As the Blair Witch Project marks its 25th anniversary, the original cast remains a testament to the industry's ups and downs and their right to fair compensation and treatment.

In the meantime, eager to revisit the tension-filled world of The Blair Witch Project can stream the original film on Freevee.

In conclusion, the actors' protest against Lionsgate's reboot brings Hollywood's unchecked practices into limelight. Only time will tell how this battle will shape the industry in the future.

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