Scott Derrickson Weighs ‘The Black Phone’ Follow-Up Ideas as Horror Film Crosses $100 Million at Global Box Office

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When TheWrap recently spoke with producer Jason Blum, he explained that Scott Derrickson’s “The Black Phone” would be something of a test for whether original horror films are still viable at the box office. But with the film crossing $100 million globally this week, Derrickson is warmed by the film’s success, and he’s not saying no to the idea of a follow-up.

Derrickson is still in the midst of international press trying to get the most out of this movie before he starts actively thinking about a sequel to “The Black Phone.” But he tells TheWrap he has been talking with “The Black Phone” short story author Joe Hill about exploring more with these characters.

“It’s not something that is innately exciting to me, in the case of this story. I’m interested in the characters that we created, and I think there’s a tone to the movie that is unique and can be expanded upon,” Derrickson said. “So possibly, we’ll see. You never know, but I’m certainly not closed off to the idea.”

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But part of the reason anyone is talking about a sequel or prequel is because Derrickson argues horror is perhaps the only movie genre today that consistently manages to birth new franchises, and “The Black Phone” is good proof that audiences have demonstrated they’ll keep showing out for something with new characters and fresh ideas.

“That’s so satisfying to me knowing that people were having a great experience and getting their money’s worth from something that was very personal,” Derrickson told TheWrap. “It seems to be the one genre that original movies will then be so successful that you get ‘A Quiet Place’ that had a hugely successful sequel. That’s pretty common. The mainstream, big budget franchises that we have are mostly older franchises…all these things that have been around for a very long time are still the big heavyweights in the theaters.”

Since the pandemic began, Blumhouse Productions has released six different films for a total domestic box office of $227.1 million, and that includes the $63.5 million that “The Black Phone” has made domestically. In the U.S., “The Black Phone” is also the fifth-highest grossing horror movie released since the pandemic began, and it should catch the No. 4 movie “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” in a matter of days.

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But the film has also legged out internationally and is the fifth-highest pandemic horror release worldwide as well. The four films that surpass it however are all sequels and franchise horror entries, including “A Quiet Place Part II,” “Scream,” “The Conjuring” and Blumhouse’s own “Halloween Kills.”

Derrickson previously told TheWrap that “The Black Phone” is his most personal and favorite film he’s made in his career, which also includes “Sinister,” “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” and the original “Doctor Strange.” So he’s thrilled to see that the movie has played at home but also latched on with audiences abroad, where it’s the top horror film of the year in markets like Hong Kong, Japan and Mexico.

But if there’s an X-factor to why the film has done so well with audiences in movie theaters specifically, it’s because the film has an unexpectedly uplifting ending for which he’s learned of audiences cheering, laughing and applauding throughout — hardly the reactions you’d typically expect for a horror film.

“To make a movie like that is the ultimate satisfaction in some ways. I didn’t necessarily think it would do that. But I knew that it was the most emotional movie that I had made and the only movie with a really uplifting ending I had ever made. I think that has a lot to do with that,” Derrickson explained.

“The Black Phone” is in theaters now and hits premium video on-demand Friday.

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