The movie included footage from a real-life Canadian disaster scene. On June 6, 2013, a freight train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people. On January 21, 2019, Netflix apologized for including the footage, but refused to remove it from the movie. Netflix removed a clip of the same disaster from "Travelers." On March 14, 2019, Netflix announced that it will remove the Lac-Mégantic footage from the movie.
The film sparked a trend of people trying to travel a distance while blindfolded, both indoors and outdoors. When videos started appearing on social media of people bumping into objects and hurting themselves, Netflix issued a statement to discourage viewers from taking what was known as the "Bird Box challenge."
At 13:05 there is a shot of an abandoned baby stroller rolling down the street. This may be a nod to the silent classic "The Battleship Potemkin" (1925), in which a baby in a carriage rolls down a long staircase during a scene of mass violence. (This famous scene has also been quoted in other films such as "The Untouchables" (1987).) The image of an abandoned baby provides a powerful representation of a society descending into chaos.
The film is set in northern California, and several northern California cities are mentioned. Malorie and the children traverse the Smith River in Del Norte County, near the California-Oregon border. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the house where the survivors take shelter is in Monrovia, near Los Angeles, and most of the non-forest/river scenes were shot in L.A.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
In a December 21, 2018 interview with "Bloody Disgusting," it was mentioned that the producers wanted the creatures to appear at some point. They even designed a creature and shot a scene with one. Sandra Bullock described the creature as "a green man with a horrific baby face." It was discarded because it made the scene funny.