Sci Fi to run hourlong tie-in to sequel

NEW YORK — Artisan Entertainment has produced “The Burkittsville 7,” a half-hour mock documentary that’s part of a joint marketing campaign with Showtime. The goal: to get cable subscribers to watch the its exclusive pay-TV showing of “The Blair Witch Project” this month.

“The Burkittsville 7″ is also the opening shot in a promotional drive to grab people’s attention before the theatrical premiere of the sequel, “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2,” which hits U.S. screens Oct. 27.

For Showtime, the docu “will allow us to take the presentation of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and turn it into an event,” says Mark Zapakin, senior VP of creative marketing services for Showtime Networks. The original movie and the half-hour docu will run back to back July 16, boosted by a free preview of Showtime in up to 40 million cable homes.

For Artisan, the docu “presents the back story of ‘Blair Witch Project’ in an entertaining way, linking it to the first movie but also alerting viewers that there’s new content coming in the form of a sequel,” says Amorette Jones, executive VP of worldwide marketing.

“Burkittsville 7″ is not the only mock documentary Artisan has up its sleeve to help promote the $13.5 million “Book of Shadows.” An hourlong docu will run on the Sci Fi Channel in October as a direct tie-in to the theatrical pic. Jones said Artisan hopes that the Sci Fi docu will match the 1.9 rating in cable homes that the original “Curse of the Blair Witch” docu harvested last year.

Showtime also plans to schedule a documentary featuring some of the real participants in the headline-making incidents dramatized in the original movie “Who Killed Atlanta’s Children.”

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