Tonight, Lionsgate invited a number of fans and members of the press to a special screening of their new horror movie The Woods. But everyone was in for quite the surprise when it was revealed that the movie was actually the long anticipated sequel to The Blair Witch Project. In fact, the movie has been retitled, quite simply, Blair Witch. We have the newly rechristened trailer, a poster and a photo from the thriller, which hits the big screen nationwide on September 16. Here is the official Blair Witch synopsis.
"A group of college students venture into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to uncover the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of James' sister who many believe is connected to the legend of the Blair Witch. At first the group is hopeful, especially when a pair of locals offer to act as guides through the dark and winding woods, but as the endless night wears on, the group is visited by a menacing presence. Slowly, they begin to realize the legend is all too real and more sinister than they could have imagined."
Secrets are very hard to keep in Hollywood these days, but Lionsgate pulled a pretty epic fast one over on everyone. A couple of months ago, the studio released a teaser trailer for a mysterious new horror movie called The Woods. This weekend, Lionsgate and director Adam Wingard revealed during the world premiere screening that the movie is actually a sequel to The Blair Witch Project.
The studio debuted the movie, at the time advertising it as The Woods, on Friday night at San Diego Comic-Con. After the screening was over, it was revealed that the new title for the movie was indeed Blair Witch, which was fairly obvious to those in attendance only mere minutes into the screening. Director Adam Wingard, as well as writer Simon Barrett, were on hand with some of the producers for the movie for a Q&A after the screening. The director seemed very relieved to finally be able to let the cat out of the bag. Here is what he had to say.
"It's really crazy because, you know, we always knew that eventually the movie was going to be called The Blair Witch, or Blair Witch. But we had to condition ourselves so much to not ever say those words out loud. So it feels really good to finally be able to just be like Blair Witch, Blair Witch, Blair Witch, Blair Witch."
The reaction from everyone at the screening was overwhelmingly positive, and the buzz coming out of the screening was electric. As it turns out, this is something that several producers at Lionsgate had been planning for some time, and they were doing their best to keep it a secret for all of this time. Barrett offered some insight as to how the project came to be and how he and long-time collaborator Adam Wingard came to be the ones to take on Blair Witch.
"This was kind of the brainchild of Jason Constantine and everyone at Lionsgate. They were really passionate about this and we had You're Next in the pipeline with them. They were the same people that had bought You're Next from us, and so, before we did The Guest...they kind of had a weird lunch with Adam and I where they were like 'Okay, we can't tell you anything about what this is, but just sit down and come and eat with us. And then they were like 'Blair Witch." And we were like 'Oh yeah!"
Wingard has had a lot of experience with horror, and specifically found footage in the past. He contributed segments to both of V/H/S and V/H/S 2. He spoke during the Q&A, saying that he felt he could do better, and that they all knew the risk involved in taking on a found footage film in the modern age. The original Blair Witch Project was one of the pioneering movies from the genre, and at the time, many people didn't understand if the movie was real or fake, which fueled the discussion and fever for the movie back when it came out. The pair were aware that they wouldn't be afforded that luxury with Blair Witch, so they decided to just make the scariest movie that they possibly could. Based on the reactions from everyone at the screening, they largely seemed to accomplish that task.
The Blair Witch Project has went on to become one of the most successful and defining horror movies of all-time. It made nearly $250 million at the global box office on a budget of just $60 thousand, and spawned a sequel. That sequel, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, was a major disappointment. It was panned by critics and only brought in $47 million on a $15 million budget, which managed to kill the horror franchise. Until now, that is.
As soon as the screening was over, Lionsgate revealed the actual title for the movie, as well as new logos, posters and a brand new trailer for Blair Witch. They also changed their social media handles to go along with the big reveal. Be sure to check out the brand new trailer for Blair Witch for yourself below. Blair Witch is due out in theaters on September 16.