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Bewitching the Box-Office
An independent Horror film has beaten Hollywood at its own game in both truly scaring audiences and making millions at the box office. Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchezs The Blair Witch Project gradually attracted attention after its début at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The official website was also familiarizing visitors with the backstory about a witch who haunts a forest and the three lost young film-makers making a documentary on the subject.
In July the buzz exploded. The Blair Witch Project won almost unanimous good reviews and broke records at a limited number of New York and LA cinemas. Given a wider release over the following two weeks, it became a phenomenon and seemingly generated as much media coverage as The Phantom Menace. Here was an underground film with no famous actors, shot mostly with a lowband camcorder for a few thousand dollars but going on to gross over $130m in the US.
Naturally, all eyes are on what the film-makers and stars from Blair Witch do next. One possible future project may be a TV series described by a San Francisco Chronicle report as a hipper, younger X-Files. In fact, one company Myrick and Sanchez have signed a pact with the home of The X-Files, Fox. Official Blair Witch sequels and/or prequels are also highly likely to further explore the fictitous myth. Unofficially, Blair Witch has already been spoofed, mainly in ads for TV comedies. Lookalike productions both serious and satirical will soon be unavoidable.
*** More on The Blair Witch Project in the next issue of Starburst, #255***
Even though the key players behind Men in Black (director Barry Sonnenfeld and stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones) did not sign sequel options, youd think that the writer (Bill and Teds Ed Solomon) would be back. But no. Columbia has just announced a sequel but only goes so far as mentioning Robert Gordon as its scribe (Gordon penned Addicted to Love and the forthcoming affectionate Sci-Fi spoof Galaxy Quest). Gossip-mongers have leapt in to imply that MiB2 could centre on Linda Fiorentinos character granted bureau status by Jones at the close of Men in Black.
The Jim Henson Companys Fantasy adventure series Farscape has been recommissioned by the Sci-Fi Channel for a second season. The Australian-shot show has been one of the US-based networks biggest hits of the last season (and has also been bought by the BBC for UK viewers).
Theres bad news for Sci-Fi Channel stablemate Sliders which after several years of mixed fortunes and various financiers has now been consigned to the dimension known as oblivion. Fans may never discover the resolution to the season cliffhanger The network has, however, bought yet another new take on The Invisible Man (not related to the recent and abortive Kyle MacLachlan version).
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Feature © Visual Imagination 1999. Not for reproduction