The Ring

Release Date: October 18, 2002
Pushed back from August 9, 2002

No, this is not a solar eclipse. It's a ring.

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The last few years have seen largely unheralded films in the thriller/horror genre meet with surprising success in late-summer releases. In 1999. The Blair Witch Project came from nowhere to leave its mark on box-office history. The Others surprised many in 2001 with its strong legs and robust word-of-mouth.

The DreamWorks entry, Ring, may very well add to this trend. What Ring lacks in big-name star power, it makes up in curiosity-piquing premise: A mysterious videotape circulates among a group of people. Those who watch it all die in seven days. The stuff of urban legend, right? Sure. At least, that's what Seattle-based reporter Rachel Keller thinks. Her world turns upside down, though, as the bizarre nature surrounding the tape engulfs her.

Australian actress Naomi Watts stars as the reporter Keller. Watts' stock has risen in the last year, due to her AFI award-winning turn in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. The Keller role was reportedly the subject of rather stiff competition among actresses. Gore Verbinski, who headed up The Mexican, directs. Other cast members include New Zealander Martin Henderson, Chris Cooper (October Sky, American Beauty) and Brian Cox (Rushmore, Super Troopers).

Screenwriters Ehren Kruger (Scream 3, Arlington Road) and Scott Frank (Out of Sight, Get Shorty) work from established material. The film is a remake of the 1998 Japanese film Ringu, itself the first entry in a trilogy. Ringu proved wildly successful in Japan, breaking box-office records there.

Filmed in part in the Pacific Northwest, a location which added to the atmospheric air of the film, Ring had a reported budget of around $60 million. It opens among somewhat strong competition, starting the same weekend as the Clint Eastwood/Brian Helgland film Blood Work. The Mel Gibson/M. Night Shyamalan project Signs hits theatres the week before; however, with its own foreboding allure and the media savvy of DreamWorks behind it, I would not be surprised if Ring managed to leave its mark on the seasonal box office. (Calvin Trager/BOP)

October 18, 2002
Though The Ring is no longer opening against the early-August competition initially planned, it may still have a tough go of it at the box office. The film is being (unfairly) compared to recent bomb fear dot com, and DreamWorks isn't showing much confidence in its potential, releasing it in a mere 1,800 theaters.

The Ring isn't a typical horror film. There's no slasher action and it's comprised more of suspense, mystery and psychological terror than it is pure scares. The hope would be that it might follow in the footsteps of 2001's The Others, which was another stylish thriller that started on a slight number of screens but grew, thanks to word-of-mouth. The quality is certainly there; there are terrific performances, the story is mysteriously compelling, and the film offers twists and turns galore, but critical response (so far, so good) and audience reaction will be key in determining The Ring's longevity. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Ring
Main Cast Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox
Supporting Cast Rachael Bella, Daveigh Chase, Shannoon Cochran, David Dorfman, Lindsey Frost, Martin Henderson, Richard Lineback, Amber Tamblyn
Director Gore Verbinski
Screenwriter Ehren Kruger
Distributor DreamWorks
Official Site
Awards Awards page for The Ring
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for The Ring
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Scream 3 2/4/0034.71 38.83 3465 10017.00 10779.0 88.36 98.84 2.55
Scream 2 12/12/9733.00 43.35 2663 12392.00 15658.7 101.36 133.15 3.07
Blair Witch Project, The 7/30/9929.21 34.80 1101 26530.00 30290.2 140.53 167.46 4.57
Time Machine, The 3/8/0222.50 23.39 2944 7609.00 7609.0 56.68 58.93 2.52
Mexican, The 3/2/0120.11 21.46 2951 6814.00 6994.9 66.81 71.30 3.32
Final Destination 2 1/31/0316.02 16.02 2834 5652.00 5652.0 46.90 46.90 2.93
Others, The 8/10/0114.09 15.03 1678 8397.00 8619.9 96.08 102.54 6.82
Get Shorty 10/20/9512.70 17.60 1612 7878.00 10504.0 72.00 99.80 5.67
Out of Sight (1998) 6/26/9812.02 15.45 2106 5708.00 7058.9 37.56 48.29 3.12
Final Destination 3/17/0010.02 11.20 2585 3876.00 4170.8 53.30 59.62 5.32
American Beauty 10/1/998.19 9.76 706 11601.00 13245.2 130.06 154.99 14.63
Arlington Road 7/9/997.52 8.96 1631 4611.00 5264.5 24.36 29.02 3.24
Super Troopers 2/15/027.15 7.43 1780 4016.00 4016.0 18.49 19.22 2.59
Scream 12/20/966.35 8.66 1413 4494.00 5897.1 103.03 140.56 16.23
October Sky 2/19/995.91 7.04 1495 3953.00 4513.3 32.48 38.70 5.50
Rushmore 2/19/992.80 3.33 764 3665.00 4184.4 17.10 20.37 3.63
Mulholland Drive 10/19/010.96 1.02 247 3889.00 3992.2 7.22 7.70 6.13



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