MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Netflix is warning fans about the risks of a new social media challenge inspired by its hit movie “Bird Box.”
The R-rated film stars Sandra Bullock, who plays a blindfolded mother who is tormented by evil creatures that turn anyone who sees them suicidal. She and her children don blindfolds to make their escape.
Blindfolded copycats have now popped up on social media. In one video, a woman nearly burns herself on a heater, in another, a boy repeatedly crashes his tricycle into furniture.
After seeing what was happening, Netflix asked everyone to just stop.
Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.
— Netflix US (@netflix) January 2, 2019
The Florida Highway Patrol also sent out its own warning.
Please do not attempt the #BirdBoxChallenge while operating a vehicle. Driving while blindfolded creates a major hazard for everyone on roadways. If caught, drivers will face criminal charges. #ArriveAlive https://t.co/o6BksnvxJD
— FHP Miami (@FHPMiami) January 4, 2019
“Companies are always a little concerned when something takes off that’s out of their control,” said Hollywood Reporter senior film editor Rebecca Keegan.
Keegan also believes Netflix senses a marketing opportunity for the movie.
“The first time I heard about the “bird box” challenge was by Netflix warning people about the bird box challenge,” she said. “Did you ever think it was going to be anything like this?”
The company, famously secretive about its viewership figures, boasted more than 45 million accounts streamed “Bird Box” in its first 7 days, numbers that can’t be independently verified.
“Bird Box” was released in theaters for only a week before Netflix started streaming it. Although the movie did well in test screenings prior to its release, Keegan says even Netflix has been taken aback by the audience response.