Cinema: The Studio: They Believed In the Magic

If a blockbuster falls in the woods, does anybody hear it? When movie buyers first saw The Blair Witch Project at January's Sundance Film Festival, the silence from bidders was deafening. Some bored viewers even walked out during the premiere; others were too afraid to walk home afterward. The acquisitions team of independent studio Artisan Entertainment also felt divided, but figured the cheapo horror flick had at least enough potential to justify an offer of $1.1 million for worldwide rights. With U.S. box office now climbing toward $100 million, it may have been the smartest deal since Peter Minuit bought Manhattan...