The filmmaking process is complex, and it can see alterations at the last minute when people have good ideas. Director Scott Derrickson told The Hollywood Reporter that at the last minute, he made a decision that slightly changed The Black Phone ending with a tiny detail by having an actor in the room who was not written to be in the room. (Minor spoilers ahead).
Robin, played by Miguel Cazarez Mora, spoke to protagonist Finnie, Mason Thames (For All Mankind), to walk him through how to fight. The scene plays out with the two practicing a method of stepping forward, back, forward, and hitting the serial killer. Initially, Robin was not in the scene until Derrickson came up with the idea at the last minute. This did not drastically change the ending of The Black Phone but made it more powerful for audiences to see. Also, he felt people wanted to see him again.
“A day or two before we shot that … it suddenly hit me out of nowhere,” Derrickson said. “I was like, ‘Oh, the audience wants to see that kid again. We got to see him again. It’s not going feel right if we don’t see him again.’ I was like, ‘Where’s that kid?’ and they were like, ‘We just flew him home.’ I was like, ‘Get him back. You got to fly him back.”
That morning, they got Mora back on set to shoot the scene. So now the director could get this moment during the ending of The Black Phone, but he did not block out how it would play out.
“I end up doing it all in one shot,” he said. “I think a good director always has an antenna up trying to hear what this movie really wants to be. If you do that, you can sometimes make decisions that are bigger than you.”
The Black Phone ending and a banger opening weekend
Derrickson may never know how changing this one detail in the ending of The Black Phone affects its performance. Regardless, it had a strong opening weekend by grossing $35 million worldwide, making it the strongest opening weekend out of his horror. However, it does not hold a light on his blockbuster superhero flick Doctor Strange for Marvel Studios.
Starring Ethan Hawke, Thames, Madeleine McGraw (Outcast), Jeremy Davies (Justified), and E. Roger Mitchell (Outer Banks), the film is based on a short story of the same name by Joe Hill, a horror author and son of Stephen King. The film is out now in theaters.