When considering an art-house teen indie release such as Artisan’s The Blair Witch Project (which generated lots of industry buzz at Sundance and Cannes prior to its wide release this month), licensing efforts must ‘maintain the legitimacy of the picture,’ says Amorette Jones, Artisan’s senior VP of theatrical marketing. ‘You have to make sure that the things you’re involved with are meaningful and edgy,’ she says, ‘that you don’t over-commercialize the picture.’
The pseudo-documentary passes itself off as footage shot by three young filmmakers who go to the mountains to document a local legend called The Blair Witch, but are never heard from again. The film is rife with faux historical references and a mythology that forms an elaborate backstory leading up to the events in the film.
A wearables line from Winterland will target young teens up to 24 years old, and companion-piece publishing deals with Oni Press and Penguin will focus on the film’s surrounding mythology. Import Images has the poster license, and Hot Topics stores will kick off a promotion for the film’s apparel lines and other licensed goods. An as-yet-unnamed indie distributor will create ‘a cassette mix tape, supposedly found in the car of one of the characters,’ featuring eerie B-side music from Public Image Limited and Skinny Puppy, among others, says Jones.