Original 'Blair Witch Project' Cast Demands Fair Compensation, Consultation Rights from Lionsgate

The original 'Blair Witch Project' cast demands fair compensation, consultation rights, and a grant for emerging filmmakers from Lionsgate, highlighting ongoing issues of fair treatment in Hollywood.

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Original 'Blair Witch Project' Cast Demands Fair Compensation, Consultation Rights from Lionsgate

Original 'Blair Witch Project' Cast Demands Fair Compensation, Consultation Rights from Lionsgate

In a public statement addressed to Lionsgate, the actors from the 1999 horror film 'The Blair Witch Project' - Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams - are seeking fair compensation, consultation rights, and a $60,000 annual grant for emerging filmmakers. This comes after the announcement of a new movie in the franchise without their involvement.

The actors claim they were paid only $300,000 each from a buyout of their ownership points on the original film, which went on to gross $248 million worldwide. They are now demanding retroactive and future residual payments equivalent to what they would have received through a union, as well as meaningful consultation on any future Blair Witch projects involving their names or likenesses.

Why this matters: The cast's demands highlight ongoing issues surrounding fair compensation and recognition in Hollywood. Their move aims to address these concerns while also setting a precedent for leveraging commercial success to support aspiring filmmakers.

The trio emphasized the lack of involvement from the original team in previous attempts to revive the franchise, stressing the importance of their creative input. "The franchise has been rebooted twice without significant creative input from the original team," the actors stated, arguing that they are the "single greatest, yet thus-far unutilized secret-weapon" for the franchise.

In addition to the compensation and consultation demands, the actors called on Lionsgate to establish 'The Blair Witch Grant,' a $60,000 yearly grant for an aspiring genre filmmaker to make their first feature film. This amount matches the original film's budget.

The original filmmakers, including directors Eduardo Sanchez and Dan Myrick, released a statement supporting the actors' contributions and the importance of their likenesses, voices, and names to the franchise. They acknowledged the actors' significant role in defining the film's authenticity and resonance with audiences.

As of now, neither Lionsgate nor Blumhouse, the studio behind the upcoming reboot, have formally commented on the statements from the original cast and filmmakers. The cast's public address has sparked discussions about fair treatment and recognition for actors in successful franchises, especially those who were part of independent, breakthrough films.

Key Takeaways

  • Original 'Blair Witch' actors seek fair compensation, and consultation rights from Lionsgate.
  • Actors claim they were paid only $300K each despite $248M box office success.
  • Actors demand retroactive and future residual payments, plus $60K annual grant for filmmakers.
  • Original filmmakers support actors' demands, citing their role in defining the film's authenticity.
  • Actors' demands aim to address fair treatment and recognition for actors in successful franchises.