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Unique Group on Getting Left Out of New Film

The group behind the unique 1999 movie The Blair Witch Challenge didn’t know concerning the plan for a brand new film within the horror franchise till it was introduced throughout Lionsgate‘s CinemaCon presentation final week. However the filmmakers’ frustrations over their lack of involvement in the way forward for the sequence has been constructing for years.

“It’s bittersweet, truthfully,” Ben Rock, manufacturing designer on the 1999 found-footage hit, tells The Hollywood Reporter concerning the deliberate reboot. He notes that nobody from his movie, together with co-directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, was concerned in any vital approach within the 2000 sequel, E-book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, or the 2016 follow-up. Rock hopes it will change for the present mission that’s within the works from Lionsgate and Blumhouse, however up to now, nobody from the 1999 film had been contacted or given an opportunity to pitch, he says.

“I do suppose that what has occurred twice now was that the unique creators have been ignored, and different folks have been introduced in, all of whom have been good,” says Rock, referring to Joe Berlinger’s 2000 sequel and Adam Wingard’s 2016 follow-up, Blair Witch. “However neither one of many sequels linked with audiences the best way they wished it to attach. And so it’d at the very least be price speaking to a few of the unique creators.”

Rock was among the many members of the unique film’s group to share reactions on social media to the information concerning the newest mission. Amongst these chiming in was Mike Monello, a co-producer on the primary film who helped conceive the web site claiming that the film’s horrors have been actual and that the folks showing in it had gone lacking. “Radical thought: You would attempt placing this mission within the fingers of the unique group that made the primary one,” Monello posted, tagging Jason Blum together with Lionsgate and Blumhouse. “You already know, the group that really has a complete franchise plan to reinvent what a Blair Witch film may very well be?”

Joshua Leonard and Michael C. Williams in The Blair Witch Challenge.

Courtesy of Everett

Moreover, Joshua Leonard, one of many movie’s three leads (alongside Heather Donahue and Michael C. Williams), posted on Instagram concerning his personal frustrations. He realized concerning the deliberate new film from a good friend who despatched a screenshot of a media report that used a nonetheless of Leonard as the primary picture. “I’m so pleased with our little punk-rock film, and I LOVE the followers who hold the flames burning,” Leonard wrote. “However at this level, it’s 25 years of disrespect from the parents who’ve pocketed the lion’s share (pun meant) of the earnings from OUR work, and that feels each icky and classless.”

The Blair Witch Challenge was made for a paltry $35,000 (earlier than advertising prices) and was an on the spot sensation when it debuted on the Sundance Movie Competition in January 1999. Artisan Leisure purchased the film and launched it theatrically that June. It turned a summer season phenomenon en path to touchdown as one of many yr’s 10 highest-grossing titles, to not point out one of the worthwhile movies ever made.

Rock met its administrators in school and remembers incomes $300 every week for his work on The Blair Witch Challenge, though he was additionally given backend factors. Rock — who labored on creating the movie’s mythology and wrote a particular selling the film for the cable TV community Sci Fi, along with his manufacturing design duties — has nothing however fond recollections from his expertise with it. Later, Artisan employed him to seek the advice of on the franchise within the lead-up to the 2000 movie, which was launched simply over a yr after the primary one hit theaters, however he didn’t work on the sequel itself. Sánchez, who has lately labored as a tv director on such initiatives as Yellowjackets and Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds, and Myrick, who helmed the forthcoming documentary Triple 7, have nominal govt producer credit on each sequels.

“I perceive you can be too near one thing, and perhaps an out of doors perspective is useful, however in combination, it didn’t work,” Rock says of E-book of Shadows. “They didn’t make the hit that they wished to make.” He emphasizes that he has plenty of respect for Blumhouse and provides, “I’m hoping Blumhouse isn’t like, ‘Hey, let’s go reboot this with out speaking to anyone [from the first one].’ However they haven’t talked to any of us.”

THR has reached out to Lionsgate and Blumhouse for remark.

Rock remembers that again within the 2000s, Myrick and Sánchez had been hoping to work on a interval piece set within the 1700s as a follow-up to their movie earlier than the event course of in the end petered out. Rock isn’t positive that one other modern-day, shaky-footage movie can be one of the best ways to maneuver the franchise ahead, which is why he thinks his movie’s artistic group can be finest fitted to understanding what made it work.

“I don’t understand how you outdo what we did,” he says. “However I care concerning the franchise, so whoever does it, I hope they deal with it with care.”

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