“Blair Witch” Producer Talks Sequel Appeal

This Summer film season has generated much discussion about Hollywood’s over reliance on sequels and reboots of known franchises or IP to generate its blockbusters. Original films have been seemingly few and far between, and even then have no real greater guarantee of success which makes the fear-driven film industry’s reliance on spending on established brands both understandable and somewhat sad.

Next month sees another one, part-sequel and part-reboot, hit cinemas in the form of horror project “Blair Witch”. The filmmakers behind it, notably director Adam Wingard and many of the same crew behind Wingard’s two original films to date (“You’re Next” and “The Guest”) shot this film under the title “The Woods”. Up until last month it was effectively sold on that title until they gave up the big reveal, that it was a “Blair Witch” follow-up.

The film’s producer Keith Calder has been producing almost all original films in the indie film world to date including the two Wingard films along with “Anomalisa,” “The Wackness,” “Faults,” “Better Living Through Chemistry,” “Bunraku,” and “Peep World”. He took to Twitter (via Indiewire) this week to explain why there’s a reliance on known IP even in the small film world and the differences he’s seen with his previous work and with “Blair Witch” since it was revealed:

“If you want to know why Hollywood keeps doing remakes and sequels and reboots and so on, here is a quick anecdote. I’ve been producing movies for ten years at a variety of budgets. Almost all original. Most of them were well reviewed and liked by audiences.

‘Blair Witch’ was made for around the same budget as most of these movies. But the attention on this release is VASTLY higher than any of them. This is a movie that has no movie stars (just great actors) and literally the same writer and director as some of our other movies.

The big difference is the ‘Blair Witch’ name and brand. It feels like riding a sled downhill instead of pushing a boulder uphill. The only reason I have the opportunity and skills to ride this sled downhill is because of the boulder-pushing over the last ten years. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m going to keep making original movies. But I sure as hell am also going to try to do more movies based on big IP.”

Calder’s next project is a remake of the acclaimed Korean thriller “I Saw the Devil”.