Original cast of The Blair Witch Project seeks pay raise as reboot confirmed

The stars of The Blair Witch Project have come forward to demand fair compensation and a say in the future of the horror franchise. In an open letter to Lionsgate, actors Rei Hance, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams called for retroactive and future residual payments equivalent to Sag-Aftra standards for their work in the original film. They also requested creative input in any reboots or sequels and the establishment of a grant for aspiring filmmakers.

The Blair Witch Project, released in 1999, was a groundbreaking independent film that redefined the found-footage genre. The actors, who were unknown at the time, improvised much of the dialogue and participated in innovative marketing stunts that blurred the lines between fiction and reality. Despite the film’s success, the actors claim they were paid a mere $300,000 each for a full buy-out of their ownership over the film, while the franchise has since expanded to include sequels, novels, comic books, and a video game series.

The open letter was supported by the film’s directors and producer, who emphasized the actors’ integral role in the franchise’s success. Directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez and producer stressed the actors’ enduring association with The Blair Witch Project and called for their contributions to be celebrated. Jason Blum, the CEO of Blumhouse, also acknowledged the influence of The Blair Witch Project, citing it as a key inspiration for his studio’s Paranormal Activity series.

The actors’ plea for fair compensation and creative involvement comes as Lionsgate announces a Blair Witch revival in collaboration with Blumhouse. While the studio has yet to respond to the open letter, the actors remain hopeful that their demands will be met. In the meantime, fans of the franchise can look forward to the upcoming revival and reflect on the lasting impact of The Blair Witch Project in the world of horror cinema.

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