Lionsgate And Blumhouse Announce A “New Vision” Of ‘The Blair Witch Project’

Heather Zoom
Heather doesn't want to die in the woods in The Blair Witch Project (1999), Lionsgate Films

After the box-office success of the painfully unimaginative film Imaginary, Lionsgate is reteaming with Blumhouse Productions for even more mediocre moviemaking.

Old dark house
Exploring a haunted house in The Blair Witch Project (1999), Lionsgate Films

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The two companies have entered into a multi-picture pact that will bring audiences the reimagining of horror films from the Lionsgate library, and their first helping of recycled byproduct is a “new vision” for the 1999 hit The Blair Witch Project.

This announcement was made last Wednesday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas by Lionsgate chair Adam Fogelson, and Blumhouse founder/CEO Jason Blum. “I’m very grateful to Adam and the team at Lionsgate for letting us play in their sandbox,” Blum declared via E! Online.

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“I’m a huge admirer of The Blair Witch Project, which brought the idea of found-footage horror to mainstream audiences and became a true cultural phenomenon. I don’t think there would have been a Paranormal Activity had there not first been a Blair Witch, so this feels like a truly special opportunity and I’m excited to see where it leads,” he added.

It led to this article, Jason. From there, it leads to another trip down ‘Nostalgia Ave’ that nobody asked for.

The ORIGINAL film takes place in 1994, and it involves three film students (played by Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard) who venture into a Maryland forest to shoot a documentary about the local myth of the Blair Witch. The three students vanish, and their equipment is found a year later with the recovered footage being the film.

blair witch standing in the basement
Joshua Leonard stands in the corner in The Blair Witch Project (1999), Artisan Entertainment

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Shot on a $60,000 budget, it would become a sleeper hit at the box office ($250 million globally) with the help of clever online marketing at a time when the internet was still a new thing. It also became the most profitable movie of all time (dethroning John Carpenter’s Halloween from 1978). Then it spawned an entire franchise of books, comics, video games, and of course two VERY BAD sequels.   

Some have claimed that it pioneered the found footage genre of horror, and they’ve obviously never seen Cannibal Holocaust from 1980. It’s more than likely the same folks who were dumb enough to think The Blair Witch Project was a snuff film where the students really did disappear, and a mainstream film company would actually distribute something like that worldwide.

For those who weren’t around back then, it’s true. People thought that the movie was real – grown people…

Heather Donahue-Blair Witch
Heather Donahue gets ready to go witch hunting in The Blair Witch Project (1999), Lionsgate Films

Either way, the Lionsgate camp have been on a brutal remaking spree lately. This is one of several films that the company has felt the need to rehash for the modern moviegoer. With American Psycho, The Dead Zone, and The Crow having been announced recently, it appears that they cannot do it all on their own.

That’s why they called in the experts. If there’s any company that has the supernatural ability to churn out unoriginal rot to the masses at a consistent pace while keeping the budget low, it’s the balefully banal Blumhouse bunch.

Maryland townfolk
Mother and child for man-on-the-street interview in The Blair Witch Project (1999), Lionsgate Films

So far, nothing has yet been announced regarding the story, cast, or if the original film’s creators (Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez) will be involved. Maybe with a little bit of witchy luck, this idea will get lost in the woods before ever coming to fruition.   

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