Original Blair Witch Project Star Blasts New Movie From Lionsgate, Blumhouse

    Joshua Leonard isn’t too happy with news of a Blair Witch reboot.

     Blair Witch Project, one of the most well-known staples of the horror genre, is getting a reboot. Although the original found-footage feature received two sequels, Lionsgate and Blumhouse are now teaming up on a complete reboot of the franchise as the first movie in a new pact between the outlets. Though the news might excite fans of the cult classic, some of the actor’s involved in the original picture aren’t especially thrilled, including actor Joshua Leonard.

    Leonard took to Instagram this week to share a passionate response to the news, railing against the studio’s treatment of himself and his co-stars for the original film.

    “So, this is MY face on a press release for a film being made by two major studios – both I’ve worked for, both I respect. The WEIRD PART is that I didn’t know anything about it until a friend sent me a ‘congrats’ screenshot yesterday. My frustration is compounded b/c I’ve been trying to get @lionsgate to engage for over a month about a BWP charity screening I’m putting together for @opositivefest to raise money for artists without healthcare, and NO ONE will get back to me,” Leonard said alongside a series of screenshots detailing the news.

    Leonard then went through a series of statements showing just how much money he and his co-stars have missed out on, despite the film’s wide-raning success.

    “In 1999, BWP’s OG distributor claimed to have released the most profitable independent film ever (bought for 1M, grossed 250M+), while internally they told us that they were actually losing money from marketing expenses… so WE might wind up owing THEM $,” he added. “Because we used our real names in the first film, the studio claimed copyright. We had to take them to federal court to win OUR NAMES back. A Hollywood insider told the press that we (actors) were paid 4M dollars as a buyout for our ownership points, while in reality, we made 300k… and NEVER saw another dime. (After buying a car and paying off his student loans, Mike was back moving furniture within 12 months of the release, while still on magazine covers.)”

    Although the actor says he’s excited fans are still thrilled with the film after the better part of three decades, his frustration with Hollywood’s treatment of the franchise is something that continues to upset him.

    “I’m so proud of our little punk-rock movie, and I LOVE the fans who keep the flames burning,” Leonard concluded. “But at this point, it’s 25 years of disrespect from the folks who’ve pocketed the lion’s share (pun intended) of the profits from OUR work, and that feels both icky and classless.”

    The Blair Witch Project is now streaming on The Roku Channel while its 2016’s Blair Witch followup can be seen on Tubi.

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