Rings looks like an early success at the box office for Paramount Pictures. Its chief rival, the hit M. Night Shyamalan-directed thriller Split, continues to doing well, after topping the charts in its first two weekends in theaters. But director F. Javier Gutierrez’s revival of the Ring horror franchise has piqued the interest of fans of the first two installments.
The early returns for the weekend box office show a tight race brewing between Rings and Split. They’re in the same ballpark in genre, with the potential to divide fans, but either movie has a shot to win the weekend. Despite having the advantage in number of theaters, Split took a narrow defeat to Rings in the first day of competition.
As reported by Variety, Rings edged Split at the Friday box office with an estimated total of $5.6 million, compared to $4.8 million for the latter. Rings outpaced Split in terms of sales per theater, as it played in 2,931 locations compared to Split’s 3,373. Variety projects that each movie will finish the weekend in the range of $13-14 million.
Rings still has work to do to reach its $33 million estimated budget. Universal and Blumhouse’s Split, meanwhile, has already smashed its Shyamalan-financed $10 million price tag. Split is now at $88.9 million in the U.S. and should pass the $100 million mark in the coming weeks, having already scored that sum worldwide. Rings has an early box office win but will have to overcome mostly negative reviews to reach the success of it competitor.
Split has proven to be an enduring new hit for Shyamalan and poses a previously unexpected threat. Rings may have been released under quite different circumstances as a franchise revival, but it should still be able to eventually turn a profit if it can make back over a third of its $25 million budget on opening weekend.
The major difference between Rings and Split is their critical response. While Split was mostly praised as a satisfyingly twisted return-to-form for Shyamalan, Rings was almost universally panned as a poorly written sequel that would only appeal to die-hard fans. It’s likely that Rings does appeal to those die-hard fans, and that it will carry enough name recognition to avoid “flop” territory and win a couple of weekends at the box office. But Shyamalan’s Split sure looks like the winner in the long run.
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