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Original Blair Witch Project Cast Wants 'Retroactive Residuals' And More From Lionsgate

As the Blair Witch Project turns 25 next month, it is being primed for a reboot, but the original cast has some requests before it goes forward.


In 1999, The Blair Witch Project became an instant horror sensation and innovated the new film genre of "found footage" and became one of the year's biggest movies. The film launched a multi-media franchise with sequels, comics, and video games, but not so much the careers of the original cast.

Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams have come together with a public proposal to Lionsgate after the studio recently announced a partnership with Blumhouse to reboot the series. The trio wrote in a statement that they're asking Lionsgate for retroactive and future residual payments, "meaningful consultation" on any future Blair Witch projects, and an annual $60,000 grant for "an unknown/aspiring genre filmmaker to assist in making their first feature film."

They continued with how both reboots of the film failed to capture the original suspense. "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 and want for 25 years, we're your single greatest, yet thus far unutilized secret weapon!"

Leonard over on his Instagram has been documenting their treatment and lack of involvement in the future of the series. "I'm so proud of our little punk-rock movie, and I love the fans who keep the flames burning," he wrote. "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."

The trio's post also had a statement from the original film's directors and producers, including Eduardo Sánchez, Dan Myrick, Gregg Hole, Robin Cowie, and Michael Monello.

"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," the statement read. "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."

The statement went on to say, "We celebrate our film's legacy, and equally, we believe the actors deserve to be celebrated for their enduring association with the franchise."

The Blair Witch Project was originally released by Artisan Entertainment, which Lionsgate acquired in December 2003. Lionsgate did not produce or distribute the original movie.

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