SAN DIEGO — It’s not easy to stand out during the hype machine that is San Diego Comic-Con. But Lionsgate found a way: The studio announced a surprise sequel to 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project.”
Returning to its found-footage format, “Blair Witch” will pick up where the first movie’s mythology left off. The story follows the brother of one of the characters in the first film who embarks on a quest to find out what happened to his sister.
The movie was screened publicly for the first time during the annual Comic-Con convention on Friday, with guests believing they’d showed up to screen a movie titled “The Woods.”
Prior to the screening, none of the marketing for “The Woods” alluded to any connection with “The Blair Witch Project” world.
This is not the first attempt to follow up on the massively successful horror film.
In 2000, “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2” tried to build on the original’s success, but failed to make a splash. It was panned by critics, in part because it abandoned the stylistic choices of the first, particularly the found-footage approach.
“Blair Witch” is not this year’s first secret sequel announcement.
In January, producer J.J. Abrams surprised fans of 2008’s “Cloverfield” by sneaking trailers for a hush-hush followup — “10 Cloverfield Lane” — into theaters. The movie made over $25 million on its opening weekend.
“Blair Witch” arrives in theaters on September 16.