Saturday, June 25, 2022

Wilmington-filmed ‘The Black Phone’ slated for winter 2022 release

Joe Hill’s short story “The Black Phone” filmed in Wilmington from January through March 2021. (Port City Daily photo/Alexandria Sands)

WILMINGTON –– Wilmington will appear on the big screen once again with the release of “The Black Phone” coming to theaters next winter.

The film is premiering Jan. 28, 2022, entertainment news site Deadline reported.

Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions produced the film. Blumhouse is no stranger to the Wilmington landscape, having wrapped “Halloween Kills” in 2019 (its release date is set for October 2021 after being postponed last fall from Covid).

Crews completed filming “The Black Phone” at EUE/Screen Gems Studios last month, according to a Mar. 27 tweet from co-writer C. Robert Cargill: “And that’s a wrap. THE BLACK PHONE is in the can. Thank you Wilmington! You’ve been amazing.”

Days earlier Cargill praised the city’s local industry on the social media site, writing: “Dear filmmaker friends: Consider Wilmington for your next shoot. Studio space, great city, and top notch [explicit] crews who work with one another consistently. Week 1 feels like week 3 when it comes to efficiency. Don’t sleep on Wilmington.”

RELATED: Here’s who’s starring in Netflix’s ‘Along for the Ride’ in Wilmington, and how you can too

“The Black Phone” is directed by Scott Derrickson, who previously worked on horror movies “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and “Deliver Us From Evil.” Derrickson also produced and co-wrote alongside Cargill. Both men worked together on Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” and the “Sinister” series.

In “The Black Phone,” a 13-year-old is abducted and trapped in a bloodied, soundproof cellar. The boy discovers he can hear the voices of past murdered children of his kidnaper’s through an old, disconnected phone on the wall of the room.

Ethan Hawk stars alongside child actor Mason Thames in the film.

The plot is adapted from an award-winning writer Joseph Hillström King, who uses the pen name Joe Hill. Hill is the son of Tabitha and Stephen King. The short story “The Black Phone” is from Hill’s New York Times bestseller “20th Century Ghosts.”

In Wilmington “The Black Phone” is among a handful of other recently wrapped productions, including the feature “I.S.S.” (International Space Station), as well as two series “This Country” and “Hightown.” Two more projects have since set up shop at Screen Gems, including Netflix’s “Along for the Ride” and Paramount’s series “George & Tammy.”

Johnny Griffin, director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission, told Port City Daily at the end of March that, as the regional film industry builds off the momentum of the second half of 2020, the state is likely to reach its allotted amount of $31 million in 2021.

“We’re doing more and more business, and we’re having more and more success,” Griffin said. “We need to be able to have more funds available to offer to more projects. The idea is just to make sure that we can keep things moving forward.”

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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at or on Twitter @alexsands_

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