20 Fun Facts About “Panic Room”

Most people aren’t literally worried about things like vampires, werewolves, or aliens getting them.  However, home invasion is a very real, very terrifying threat that we read about in the news every day.  It’s the reason why home invasion horror/thriller movies strike a particular chord with not just horror fans, but general audiences as well.

One such movie that struck a chord way back in 2002 was the David Fincher-directed, Jodie Foster-starring Panic Room!  So in honor of its 20th anniversary today, we thought it would be fun to look at 20 fun facts about Panic Room!

1. Screenwriter David Koepp sold the script for an unprecedented $4 million, an incredibly high price for just a script at the time.

2. His original idea was based on a New York Times article he read about the super wealthy having these “safe rooms” to hide in if there was ever a break in.

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You can buy a basic one for as low as $9,000 (don’t think that includes installation though)

3. Koepp’s goal was to create a modern-day Hitchcockian thriller.

4. Nicole Kidman was originally cast in the lead role, and even completed several days of shooting.  However, she had to drop out mid-production due to a knee injury (a leftover from Moulin Rouge).  When Jodie Foster replaced her, she only had a few days to prepare before she was on set filming.

5. Kidman is still in the final movie, via a voice cameo as Stephen’s girlfriend when Meg tries to call him and she answers the phone.

6. Early on, director David Fincher toyed with the idea of shooting parts of the movie in complete darkness, but decided it would be too impractical.

7. During production, Kristen Stewart grew three inches in height.  She even went from being shorter than Jodie Foster to taller than her by the end of shooting.

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You can tell which scenes were filmed when based on their height disparity.

8. Jared Leto did his own stunts, including being set on fire.

9. Jodie Foster discovered that she was pregnant several weeks into production.  Having already lost Nicole Kidman, they continued on, changing her outfit to something baggy to hide her growing stomach.

10. Several weeks into production, Director of Photography Darius Khondji (who had previously worked with Fincher on Se7en) quit because he felt like he was being micro-managed and not able to contribute creatively.  Later on David Fincher admitted this was true, and the two have not worked together since.

11. Because of David Fincher’s reluctance to use CGI, filming took much longer than expected (120 days), and many stunts left actors with minor injuries.

12. White the exteriors were all shot on location in Manhattan, the inside of the house and titular panic room were shot entirely on a soundstage in California.

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It was an elaborate set that cost roughly $6 million to build.

13. Fincher opted to shoot the scenes in the house largely in chronological order, since the house gets more and more damaged as the movie goes on.  It made for easier continuity.

14. While it’s not currently on the market, the exteriors of the upper west-side townhouse featured in the movie is currently valued by Zillow at roughly $5 million.

15. David Fincher greatly disapproved of Columbia Pictures’ marketing campaign of Panic Room.  They heavily advertised it as a scary horror film “from the director of Se7en and Fight Club”.  He worried this would mislead audiences, as Panic Room’s tone was quite different and more dramatic.

16. Fincher insisted the movie not be edited down to a PG-13 rating, and thus it was released as R.
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17. Either way, it was a massive critical and box office hit, grossing $197 million on a $48 million budget.

18. Jodie Foster was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actress, but lost to Naomi Watts for The Ring.

19. Upon home video release, Panic Room was available to rent or buy on DVD, but the only VHS copies made were sold to rental chains and not meant for consumer purchase.  Partly because they felt that DVD player owners were more likely to buy it, and partly because the industry at the time was trying to phase out VHS.

20. To date, Panic Room has yet to be released on Blu-ray.

Which of these did you already know?  Which ones surprised you?  Let us know in the comments!

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