Since Ring hit Japanese cinemas in January 1998, The Ring series has seen a whopping 12 movies released. Those have been divided into various sub-franchises, with Japan and the US telling their own stories and South Korea getting a look in with The Ring Virus. The most recent efforts have been 2017’s Rings in the US and last year’s Sadako in Japan. Both underperformed, and though Rings earned a box office haul of $83 million on a $25 million budget, that’s just a fraction of its predecessors.
Now, Paramount is doing what studios usually do when a franchise has run out of steam: reboot. Our sources – the same ones who told us Transformers was being rebooted months ago, before it was confirmed the other week – are saying that the studio has begun development of a hot new take on The Ring to breathe some life into those mouldering old bones. Word is that they want to bring back Gore Verbinski to direct, and if he signs on, he’d be making a return to the franchise after helming the 2002 US remake of the original movie. However, with VHS tapes a distant memory for older audiences and completely alien to younger ones, they’re going to shift focus to… you guessed it, smartphones.
My bet is this new, modern Sadako is going to be a particularly deadly viral video. In a nicely recursive loop, I think the rebooted Ring will be inspired by the 2018 ‘Momo Challenge’ craze, which was itself inspired by the Ring franchise. After all, the Momo phenomenon has already influenced several upcoming horror films, with Getaway being about teenagers who mess with Momo while in a secluded cabin in the woods.
However it eventually turns out, I just hope that Verbinski – if he returns – keeps things low-key and disturbing like the early films in the Ring franchise. Of late, Sadako has begun to enter the horror movie monster stage of duking it out with other creatures, with rumors of a Ring vs. Grudge film being planned. While that might be morbidly curious, I’m much more interested in something that’s actually scary.