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Lionsgate knew they couldn't keep the secret forever. The Woods, a new yet critically acclaimed horror film from Adam Wingard (The Guest, You're Next), was about to screen publicly at San Diego Comic-Con. The truth (which many who write about movies on a daily basis already knew) was about to get out. So they jumped the gun and revealed that The Woods is really a sequel to 1999's The Blair Witch Project, and will change its name to Blair Witch. The first trailer just dropped. Watch it now!
The studio handed the reveal to EW, who have a thorough piece about how the details of the sequel were kept under wraps. It's a lot of what you might have heard before on productions that seek out an extreme level of secrecy. The actors knew what they were filming, but many around the production were handed fake scripts. Even top Lionsgate brass didn't realize that The Woods was really Blair Witch, to maintain the ruse for as long as physically possible. Jason Constantine, President, Acquisitions and Co-Productions for Lionsgate's Motion Picture Group tells EW:
It really has been fascinating, all the CIA-level security that we have put around this project, from the very beginning. I've been at Lionsgate for 16 years, and I've had the privilege of working on a lot of movies that I love, and are a lot of fun: horror movies, and action movies, and Oscar movies. But never have we ever set out to make a reboot movie, and keep it in total secrecy, with a brand that's as well known to the public as this one. It's incredible to think about how many people needed to know about it to bring this movie to life --- and yet we ended up not having any leaks in that regard.
They made it this far. But the movie's currently being screened -- our very own Eric Eisenberg is in a theater watching it as I type this, and will have his reaction on CinemaBlend by night's end. The cat will be out of the bag. What will people think?
Blair Witch will have massive shoes to fill. The original movie stands as one of the most profitable movies of all time, a micro-budgeted indie horror that banked $248 million on a reported $60,000 production budget. But the movie became a lightning rod in the film community, introducing mainstream crowds to the concept of Found Footage and scaring the pants off of people who don't have a strong stomach for horror.
So now that you know The Woods is Blair Witch are you more or less interested? The movie opens everywhere on September 16. Look for our reaction to the movie on CinemaBlend later tonight.