Original 'Blair Witch Project' Cast Demands Residuals, Consultation on Future Projects

The original 'Blair Witch Project' cast demands fair compensation and creative input from Lionsgate for future franchise projects, highlighting ongoing industry issues around actor recognition and residuals.

Salman Khan
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Original 'Blair Witch Project' Cast Demands Residuals, Consultation on Future Projects

Original 'Blair Witch Project' Cast Demands Residuals, Consultation on Future Projects

The original cast members of the 1999 horror film 'The Blair Witch Project' - Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams - have released a public letter to Lionsgate, the current owner of the franchise, demanding more robust compensation for their work on the original film and meaningful consultation on any future Blair Witch projects that use their names or likenesses.

The actors claim they each made only $300,000 from a buyout of their ownership points on the film, which went on to gross $248 million worldwide. They are asking for retroactive and future residual payments equivalent to what they would have received through a union representation, as well as a meaningful consultation on any future Blair Witch reboots, sequels, or other projects.

The original filmmakers - directors Eduardo Sanchez and Dan Myrick, producers Gregg Hale and Robin Cowie, and co-producer Michael Monello - have also released a statement supporting the actors and highlighting their significant contributions to the film's authenticity and enduring legacy. "The actors' likenesses, voices and real names are inseparably tied to The Blair Witch Project," the filmmakers stated. "Their unique contributions not only defined the film's authenticity but continue to resonate with audiences around the world."

The actors are also requesting that Lionsgate create a $60,000 'Blair Witch Grant' to assist an unknown aspiring genre filmmaker in making their first feature film. This comes after Lionsgate and Blumhouse announced plans to revive the Blair Witch franchise for a new audience, without involving the original actors.

Why this matters: The demands from the Blair Witch Project cast highlight ongoing issues in the entertainment industry regarding fair compensation and recognition for actors' contributions to successful franchises. The outcome of this situation could set a precedent for how studios handle residuals and creative input from original cast members in reboots and sequels.

In their letter, the actors express dissatisfaction with the lack of respect and proper payment they received for the blockbuster film, which grossed $248 million on a small budget. They are seeking residuals equal to industry standards and input into any future Blair Witch related ventures. Lionsgate has not yet publicly responded to the actors' demands as they move forward with plans to reboot the iconic horror franchise.

Key Takeaways

  • Original Blair Witch cast demands better compensation, creative input
  • Actors made only $300K from $248M grossing film, seek residuals
  • Filmmakers support actors, say their contributions defined authenticity
  • Actors request $60K 'Blair Witch Grant' for aspiring filmmakers
  • Outcome could set precedent for actor compensation in reboots/sequels