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Blair Witch Project

ENTERTAINMENT
October 18, 1999 | DONALD LIEBENSON, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
For consumers seeking video treats this Halloween, the release of the sleeper hit "The Blair Witch Project" a mere 60 days after the height of its theatrical run is perhaps more shocking than whatever it was those three ill-fated student filmmakers found in the woods. The average time it takes for a film to go from theater to video is about six months.
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BUSINESS
September 21, 1999 | THOMAS K. ARNOLD, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Halloween has long since ceased being a holiday just for kids, but home video marketers are grabbing on to this year's date with more aggressive campaigns, and bigger releases, than ever before. For the first time, two "event" titles, films with box-office earnings of more than $100 million, are being released on video specifically in time for Halloween.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 31, 1999 | RICHARD NATALE, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, hitting 'em out of the park in astonishing numbers, the major studios are this year's boys of summer, sending one film after another roaring beyond the fence. "It was the perfect summer," concludes Walt Disney Studios Chairman Joe Roth. And in Hollywood, perfection consists of popping a record 11 films into $100-million territory, with one more film ("American Pie") expected to reach that number by early fall.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 27, 1999 | ERIKA MILVY, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Yes, "The Blair Witch Project" is somewhat spooky. What's even spookier is the frenzy that has erupted on the Internet about a shoestring-budgeted mock doc that has become a cult classic faster than you can say "boo." Witches, pshaw. These kids are possessed! A hit at Sundance's midnight screening in January, the little scary movie that could was picked up by Artisan Entertainment, promoted on the Net and to date has taken in more than $120 million at the U.S. box office. Much of this has been due to word-of-chat and the film's innovative Web site, which upholds the mockumentary aspects of the picture.
BUSINESS
August 20, 1999 | CLAUDIA ELLER and RICHARD NATALE
In a bewitching scenario for independent film distributor Artisan Entertainment, industry sources estimate that in the next seven years Hollywood's newest movie franchise, "The Blair Witch Project," and its sequels could generate $500 million in revenue and $150 million in profits for the privately held company. Artisan's investment in the pseudo-documentary that nobody else in Hollywood wanted will ultimately total around $30 million. That includes an acquisition price of $1.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 16, 1999 | KENNETH TURAN, TIMES FILM CRITIC
Studio executives are not yet insisting that moats and drawbridges be added to their stately homes, but it would be understandable if they were. For after the huge success of "The Blair Witch Project," trumpeted on simultaneous covers of Time and Newsweek, movie industry players may be forgiven for feeling just the slightest bit besieged. If ever a film's triumph could be called unprecedented, "Blair Witch" is the one.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 10, 1999 | SUSAN KING and SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.
Hollywood Pictures' "The Sixth Sense" took away some of the thunder from "The Blair Witch Project." The Bruce Willis ghost story nabbed the No. 1 spot in its opening weekend with $26.7 million, making it the highest-grossing August-opening film. It finished ahead of "The Fugitive," which opened to $23.7 million six years ago. "Sixth Sense" is the third $20-million-plus opener for Disney this summer. "Blair Witch" added 1,041 screens to hold onto second place with $24.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 5, 1999 | SHAUNA SNOW
ENTERTAINMENT Spielberg Lauded: Steven Spielberg will receive the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal (named after the Smithsonian Institution's initial financier) in Washington on Wednesday in recognition of his efforts toward improving Jewish lifestyles and promoting remembrance of the Holocaust. Past honorees include the late Jacques Cousteau, Lady Bird Johnson, George Lucas and Walter Cronkite.
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