Blair Witch (2016): Second Sequel to the 1999 Horror Phenom

Blair Witch and Bridget Jones’s Baby, two sequels to films that first hit theaters a generation ago, stumbled in their debuts this weekend, earning a meagre $9.7 million and $8.2 million, respectively.

It’s a disappointing result for Blair Witch, which fell short of tracking.

Heading into the weekend, some rival studios expected the film to earn $20 million, potentially toppling Eastwood’s Sully from its throne.

Many things went wrong, starting with poor reception at Toronto Film Fest, bad reviews across the board, and D  CinemaScore.

Younger moviegoers may not have been familiar with the horror franchise. The first film in the series revolutionized theatrical distribution and kicked off the trend of “found footage” stories when it hit theaters in 1999.

Made for a mere $60,000, Blair Witch Project benefiting from a new sort of marketing, resulting in a $248.6 million global gross.

A poorly received follow-up hit theaters in 2000, when it was dismissed by critics and made a fraction of the first film’s massive haul.

Lionsgate produced the latest sequel for only $5 million and pushed it out over 3,121 locations.

It debuted the film at Comic-Con to generate buzz, screening it under its working title “The Woods” and surprising fans who had no idea they were watching a new “Blair Witch.”

But there are a lot of horror films in theaters, with “Don’t Breathe” and “When the Bough Breaks” already scratching the itch to be scared and leaving little room for “Blair Witch” to break through.

Lionsgate is undergoing a transition and could use some new film franchises. The studio has wrapped up its “Hunger Games” films and is moving the “Divergent” series to television. It announced Friday that Rob Friedman, the motion picture group co-chair and one of the guiding forces behind the “Twilight” saga, is stepping down.

The studio is earning strong buzz on “La La Land,” a musical that is expected to be an Oscar player; “Hacksaw Ridge,” a World War II drama from Mel Gibson; and “Deepwater Horizon,” a true-life action tale with Mark Wahlberg.