Bird Box (film)

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Bird Box
Bird Box (film).png
Film poster
Directed bySusanne Bier
Produced by
Screenplay byEric Heisserer
Based onBird Box
by Josh Malerman
Starring
Music by
CinematographySalvatore Totino
Edited byBen Lester
Production
company
  • Bluegrass Films
  • Chris Morgan Productions
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • November 12, 2018 (2018-11-12) (AFI Fest)
  • December 14, 2018 (2018-12-14) (United States)
Running time
124 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$19.8 million[2]

Bird Box is a 2018 American post-apocalyptic film directed by Susanne Bier from a screenplay written by Eric Heisserer, based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Josh Malerman. The film follows a woman, played by Sandra Bullock, who, along with a pair of children, dubbed Boy and Girl, must make it through a forest and river blindfolded to avoid supernatural entities which cause people who see them to either die by suicide or force others to look.

Bird Box had its world premiere at AFI Fest on November 12, 2018, and began a limited release on December 14, before streaming worldwide on Netflix on December 21, 2018.

Plot[edit]

In a post-apocalyptic world, Malorie Hayes advises two young, unnamed children that they will be going downstream on a river in a boat. She strictly instructs them to not remove their blindfolds, or else they will die.

Five years earlier, a pregnant Malorie has a routine pregnancy checkup with her older sister Jessica accompanying her. Afterward, Malorie sees a woman bashing her head into a glass panel followed by others beginning to panic as chaos erupts in the city. Malorie and Jessica attempt to drive away from the violence, but Jessica loses control of herself as she drives, and the car ends up overturning. An injured Malorie then witnesses Jessica walk into the path of an oncoming truck, killing herself.

A group of survivors rescue Malorie, and, while recovering at their base, one of the survivors, Charlie, theorizes that an otherworldly entity has invaded Earth, taking the form of its victims' worst fears and driving them insane before causing them to commit suicide. At the insistence of Tom, the leader of the group, they cover all windows in the house and blindfold themselves whenever they must venture outside.

As the supply of food decreases, Tom, Malorie, Charlie, and fellow survivors Douglas and Lucy decide to go to a supermarket close by to restock. The group are attacked by an infected survivor, who is not killed by the entity but is instead used as a tool to infect others. Charlie sacrifices himself to save the others, who are able to make it back safely to the house.

Soon thereafter, Olympia, a pregnant survivor, lets Gary, a stranger, into the house against Douglas's protest. Later, Olympia and Malorie go into labor and while a survivor named Cheryl helps with the births, Gary knocks out Tom, kills Douglas and proceeds to remove all the coverings from the windows. This results in the suicides of all the survivors except for Tom, Malorie, the babies, and Gary, who is killed by a recovered Tom.

Five years later, Tom and Malorie are living together with the children when they receive a transmission from a survivor stating that they are well and safe at a community. The four decide to go to the community but are ambushed by infected survivors. Tom sacrifices himself to save Malorie and the children.

Malorie and the children make their way blindfolded down the river on a boat fighting off infected survivors. After surviving raging rapids and being separated from each other, the entity tempts the children and Malorie to remove their blindfolds but is unsuccessful and the three eventually reach the community.

Malorie learns that the community is a former School for the Blind, and that most members of the community are blind. Malorie finally gives the children names and releases the birds she had been keeping with her, for use as a signal of the entity's presence.

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Supporting[edit]

Production[edit]

Film rights to Bird Box were optioned by Universal Pictures in 2013, prior to the book's release.[3][4] Scott Stuber and Chris Morgan were set to produce the film, with It and Mama director Andy Muschietti attached as director.[4] Screenwriter Eric Heisserer was in negotiations to pen the script.[5] In July 2017, it was announced that Netflix had acquired the rights to the book after Stuber became head of the feature film division of Netflix and would develop the film, with Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich starring.[6][7] Susanne Bier was announced as the director.[6] In October 2017, Danielle Macdonald, Trevante Rhodes, Jacki Weaver, Sarah Paulson, Rosa Salazar, Lil Rel Howery, and Amy Gumenick joined the cast.[8][9] In November 2017, Machine Gun Kelly and David Dastmalchian joined the cast.[10][11]

Principal photography began in California in October 2017.[12] Wilderness scenes were shot on the Smith River in the far northern part of the state.[13] The house exterior is from a place in Monrovia.[14] Scenes were filmed in Santa Cruz,[15] and the final scene was shot at Scripps College.[16][17][18]

Release[edit]

The film had its world premiere at AFI Fest on November 12, 2018.[19] However, due to the Woolsey Fire that hit California and out of respect for the victims of Thousand Oaks shooting, Netflix cancelled AFI Fest’s red carpet coverage scheduled for the premiere.[20] The film had a limited theatrical run begin on December 14, 2018, before starting streaming on Netflix on December 21, 2018.[21] A week later, Netflix reported that Bird Box had the biggest seven-day viewership for any of its original films to date, with over 45 million accounts, with views defined by the company as the film streaming for over 70 percent of its time.[22][23] This claim has been met with skepticism from analysts, who cited a lack of independent verification of the view count.[22][24][25] According to Netflix, the film was viewed by 80 million households in the month following its release.[26]

Reception[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 64% based on 129 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Bird Box never quite reaches its intriguing potential, but strong acting and an effectively chilly mood offer intermittently creepy compensation."[27] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[28]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Visual Effects Society Awards February 5, 2019 Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature Marcus Taormina, David Robinson, Mark Bakowski, Sophie Dawes, Mike Meinardus Pending [29]

Controversy[edit]

The film uses footage of an actual tragedy in which 40 people were killed in the town of Lac-Megantic, Canada on July 6, 2013. The stock-footage was purchased from a vendor and Netflix has said it will stay in the movie even after request to remove it by survivors of the actual crash. [30] It should be noted that it is common in the industry to use news footage to stand in for a fictional event on film. The same footage was also used in another Netflix production called Travelers.[31]

Bird Box challenge[edit]

In Australia, Netflix originally partnered with four Twitch streamers in performing what they called a Bird Box challenge, in which they would play some popular video games while blindfolded.[32] However, the challenge has since turned into a global Internet meme in which participants wear blindfolds and try to do day-to-day activities. In response, Netflix has released several messages over social media advising people not to undertake the latter challenge.[25] Nevertheless, a seventeen-year-old in a blindfold taking part in the craze drove into oncoming traffic in Utah and crashed her car, prompting the police in the state to issue the same warning as Netflix.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bird Box". AFI Fest. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  2. ^ Film and Television Tax Credit Program Program 2.0 (PDF) (Report). California Film Commission. p. 9. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  3. ^ "DETROIT PROUD: Josh Malerman". CBS. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Kit, Borys. "'Mama' Director to Helm Adaptation of 'Bird Box' (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  5. ^ "Eric Heisserer In Talks To Adapt 'Bird Box' For Universal". Deadline. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Kroll, Justin. "Sandra Bullock to Star in Netflix Thriller 'Bird Box'". Variety. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  7. ^ Kroll, Justin. "John Malkovich Joins Sandra Bullock in 'Bird Box'; Eyes Peter Berg's 'Mile 22' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  8. ^ Kroll, Justin. "Sandra Bullock's 'Bird Box' Rounds Out Starry Cast (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  9. ^ N'Duka, Amanda. "James Landry Hebert, Adam Bartley Cast In 'Donnybrook'; Amy Gumenick Joins 'Bird Box'". Deadline. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin. "Machine Gun Kelly Joins Sandra Bullock in Thriller 'Bird Box'". Variety. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  11. ^ N'Duka, Amanda. "David Dastmalchian Joins Sandra Bullock In Netflix's 'Bird Box'". Deadline. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  12. ^ "Susanne Bier Begins Filming Netflix Movie Bird Box". Nordic Drama. October 31, 2017. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  13. ^ "Was 'Bird Box' filmed in Sacramento? Well, no". KXTV. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  14. ^ "'Bird Box' Home Becomes Unexpected Tourist Attraction". TMZ. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  15. ^ https://www.santacruz.org/blog/article/979/bird-box-nestles-in-henry-cowell-redwoods-state-park
  16. ^ "Books to Film: Josh Malerman's Debut 'Bird Box' Lands on Netflix". Publishing Perspectives. 25 December 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Bird Box Location: The river in California where the Netflix movie was filmed". Atlas of Wonders. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  18. ^ Bobrowsky, Meghan [@BobrowskyMeghan] (24 December 2018). "Last winter break, Sandra Bullock was at @scrippscollege, shooting a scene for her new movie, Bird Box. This winter break, the movie came out on @netflix!pic.twitter.com/7YR9EiR6b0" (Tweet). Retrieved 3 January 2019 – via Twitter.
  19. ^ Hammond, Pete (October 11, 2018). "AFI Fest Adds Gala Screenings 'Green Book', 'Widows', World Premiere Of Netflix's 'Bird Box' With Sandra Bullock And 'The Kominsky Method' TV Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  20. ^ Malkin, Marc. "Netflix Cancels Sandra Bullock's 'Bird Box' AFI Fest Red Carpet as California Fires Continue to Rage". Variety. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  21. ^ Parfitt, Orlando (January 22, 2018). "15 Netflix Original movies to look out for in 2018". Screen International. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  22. ^ a b Spangler, Todd; Spangler, Todd (28 December 2018). "'Bird Box' Viewed by 45 Million Netflix Members in First Week, Company Says".
  23. ^ Film, Netflix (28 December 2018). "Took off my blindfold this morning to discover that 45,037,125 Netflix accounts have already watched Bird Box — best first 7 days ever for a Netflix film!pic.twitter.com/uorU3cSzHR".
  24. ^ Alexander, Julia (30 December 2018). "Netflix says over 45 million accounts watched Bird Box — here's what that means". The Verge. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  25. ^ a b "'Bird Box' challenge: Netflix urges people to stop due to safety concerns". USA TODAY. 2 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  26. ^ "Bird Box drives Netflix subscribers to 140m". 2019-01-18. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  27. ^ "Bird Box (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  28. ^ "Bird Box reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  29. ^ https://variety.com/2019/artisans/awards/visual-effects-society-nominations-avengers-infinity-war-1203108109/
  30. ^ http://fortune.com/2019/01/17/netflix-bird-box-rail-disaster-footage/
  31. ^ https://www.msn.com/en-us/movies/news/netflix-wont-remove-controversial-bird-box-scene/ar-BBSnsYx?OCID=ansmsnnews11
  32. ^ Stevenson, Leo (14 December 2018). "Netflix teamed up with Twitch streamers to promote the new film Bird Box". powerup-gaming.com. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  33. ^ "US driver in 'Bird Box blindfold' crashes". BBC News. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2019.

External links[edit]