It’s hard to overstate the impact of The Blair Witch Project. These days, movies like it are a dime a dozen. Online viral marketing? Pretty passé. But fifteen years ago, a found footage movie marketed primarily through the Internet was not only radical, it was revolutionary. On a budget of just $25,000, the film grossed $250 million worldwide, making it the most profitable film in the history of cinema.
For those of us who were lucky enough to be a part of it, the impact of Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez‘s film is a door into our own pasts. For those who may not have been there — who didn’t experience lining up for screenings and the confusion over what was real and what wasn’t — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has created a short little documentary about how The Blair Witch Project changed movies forever.
Below, watch a video about The Blair Witch Project history and read a first hand account of what it was like on the ground floor. Read More »
No, the guy who co-created Facebook does not have anything to do with The Blair Witch Project. That’s Eduardo Saverin. Eduardo Sanchez is the guy who co-created the horror genre as we know it and the fact that more people today probably know Saverin than Sanchez is kind of insane.
Sanchez, along with Daniel Myrick, co-wrote and directed The Blair Witch Project, the 1999 blockbuster that changed the face of movies forever. It not only ushered in a mega-low-budget model of filmmaking, it was one of the earliest examples of online viral marketing and, of course, begin a trend of found footage films that’s still going strong twelve years later.
Unfortunately, after the $250 million smash hit, Artisan bastardized the property with Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, which had very little to do with the original and was only a moderate success. Sanchez and Myrick have been sitting on their own Blair Witch sequel idea ever since and, in a new interview, Sanchez says “We’re as close as we’ve ever been to making it happen” but that it’s all up to Lionsgate, who now owns the rights.
After the jump, read more of Sanchez’s quotes and reminisce about the legacy of The Blair Witch Project. Read More »
It’s a couple of weeks over ten years now since The Blair Witch Project proved to be a strange freak of box office nature. Back at it’s release on July 30th 1999 the film was given a crazy leg-up by its accidentally wonderful online marketing and a public desperate to buy into something spiritual-mystical, however crazy. We also shouldn’t underestimate the voracious appetite of the dedicated horror audience, of which I would suppose I am a member, and our never-ending desire for something new, fresh or exciting.
The sequel, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, was an entirely different beast to the original, eschewing the Last Broadcast-style handicam aesthetic for something in the vein of classical narrative film stylings. Personally, I thought it was conceptually a far more exciting film than the first though somewhat hampered by its lackluster realization. I do still relish the irony, though, that this second film was directed by Joe Berlinger, typically a maker of documentaries.
So, which way would a third Blair Witch film go? Back to the faux-doc approach of part one? Or further into the potential of ‘traditional’ film language?
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Filmmakers Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez would like to release an extended director’s cut of The Blair Witch Project, but Lionsgate isn’t interested.
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I remember when The Blair Witch Project exploded onto the scene in the late 90’s, Hollywood was abuzz calling the Blair Witch filmmakers the future of Hollywood. While Blair Witch is likely responsible for the internet viral marketing ideas that we see today, the filmmakers have faded into obscurity. And it’s not for a lack of trying, both Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez have working hard to turn out, something, anything, that will latch on and find a following, without much luck. Daniel Myrick’s latest is a horror/psychological thriller titled Believers. The film follows David Vaughn and Victor Hernandez, two on duty emergency paramedics who are kidnapped and locked in an isolated building with a religious or scientific cult.
Honestly, the movie doesn’t look half bad for a direct-to-dvd horror flick. You can check out the movie trailer after the jump.
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