Seventeen years ago, The Blair Witch Project came out of nowhere and turned into a 1999 summertime smash. The found footage horror pic (we can basically thank it for kicking off that craze) was initially shot for a tiny $60,000 and made $140 million domestically and $248 million worldwide. A year later, a quasi-sequel entitled Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 failed to connect with audiences.
This time around, we have a direct sequel to the original and it was shockingly a secret up until a couple of months ago. The director/writer horror team of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett have been responsible for some critically acclaimed genre titles such as You’re Next and The Guest. Their latest venture was said to be The Woods and there was even a trailer for it. It wasn’t until this summer’s San Diego Comic Con (where it screened to great buzz) that it was revealed as Blair Witch. Like the 1999 pic, the cast is made up of relative or total unknowns.
Backstory explained, let’s get to its box office potential. First things first – scare tactics have been a bright spot at the multiplexes lately. The Conjuring 2 debuted to $40 million. Lights Out surprised many with a $21 million premiere and Don’t Breathe exceeded all expectations with $26 million out of the gate. That bodes well for this.
One potential concern: will younger viewers feel the connection to a franchise that has laid dormant for over a decade and a half? While the original was a moneymaking sensation, reaction to it was actually polarized and that may have contributed to the mediocre returns of the 2000 follow-up.
That said, I still envision Blair Witch reaching mid to high 20s next weekend with strong word of mouth from its screening helping.
Blair Witch opening weekend prediction: $27.4 million
For my Bridget Jones’s Baby prediction, click here:
For my Snowden prediction, click here:
For my Hillsong – Let Hope Rise prediction, click here: