'Blair Witch' actors push for retroactive payments

FILE-Heather Donahue appears in a scene from the film 'The Blair Witch Project' in 1999. (Photo by Lauren Film/Getty Images)

The three actors who appeared in "The Blair Witch Project" are pushing for more compensation for their work in the popular 90s horror flick. 

Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams – who improvised most of the movie’s dialogue – allege they didn’t have proper union representation in 1999 and are seeking residuals, according to IMDb. 

In addition to more money, the actors also want "meaningful consultation" on any reboots and sequels for the movie after news that the horror franchise is being resurrected again.

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blair witch footage

FILE-Sound recorder Michael Williams loses control in anticipation of another terrifying night during a harrowing five-day journey through the Black Hills Forest in the low-budget thriller "The Blair Witch Project." (Photo by Artisan Entertainment/Ge

Leonard said the actors used their real names in the independent film, with each of them making $300,000 from a buyout of their ownership of the film, which went on to make $248 million globally, Variety noted. 

The actors later sued Artisan Entertainment in 2002 for using their names and likenesses in the studio’s 2000 sequel, "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2."

A letter written on behalf of Donahue, Leonard, and Williams was posted on social media on April 20, listing their demands and sent to Lionsgate, the movie studio that owns the Blair Witch movie franchise. 

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Variety reported that Lionsgate tried to resurrect the franchise with the 2016 sequel "Blair Witch," which earned $45 million worldwide. The company also operates a Blair Witch-themed Escape room in Las Vegas.

The actors asked Lionsgate to create a $60,000 "Blair Witch Grant" that would be given to an unknown, aspiring filmmaker to help them create their first feature film.

Released on July 30, 1999, "The Blair Witch Project" became a pop culture phenomenon for its shaky, hand-held filming and mostly improvised dialogue. 

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.