The film had its world premiere in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on May 16. Distributed by A24 Films, it began a U.S. limited release on June 14, before opening in a wide release on June 21, 2013.
Quiet gay teenager Marc Hall (Israel Broussard) arrives as a new student at Indian Hills High School in Agoura Hills, California. He is befriended by fame-obsessed Rebecca Ahn (Katie Chang). While at a party at Rebecca's house, the pair check unlocked vehicles on the street, taking valuables such as cash and credit cards.
When Marc mentions that one of his wealthy acquaintances is out of town, Rebecca persuades him to join her in breaking into to his house. Rebecca steals a handbag, mentioning that her idol, Lindsay Lohan, has the same one. She also steals cash and the keys to a Porsche, which the pair use to flee the scene. With the cash, the two go on a shopping spree, affording themselves the luxury lifestyle they admire in magazines.
Marc visits a nightclub with Rebecca and her friends Nicki (Emma Watson), Nicki's adopted sister Sam (Taissa Farmiga), and Chloe (Claire Julien), where they rub shoulders with celebrities such as Kirsten Dunst and Paris Hilton. While researching Hilton on the Internet, Marc and Rebecca realize that she will be out of town. The pair go to her house, and finding the key under the doormat, they go through Hilton's belongings, taking some jewelry. Rebecca then flaunts a stolen bracelet to Nicki, Sam, and Chloe at a party.
At Nicki's request, Rebecca and Marc take her, Sam and Chloe back to Hilton's house. The group marvels at the excess of Hilton's lifestyle, and steals shoes, bags, dresses, cash, and jewelry. Marc and Rebecca return to rob Hilton's house on a third occasion. The pair also decides to rob the home of Audrina Patridge, once again using the Internet to determine when she will not be home. The entire group uses the same method to burgle the home of Megan Fox, with Nicki's younger sister Emily (Georgia Rock) squeezing through a pet door to gain access to the home.
The group enters the home of Orlando Bloom and his girlfriend, Miranda Kerr. The girls proceed to steal similar items, while Marc finds a case filled with seven of Bloom's Rolex watches along with a roll of cash. Chloe then helps Marc sell the watches to her friend, a night club manager named Ricky (Gavin Rossdale). The group returns once again to Hilton's house, with Sam's boyfriend Rob (Carlos Miranda), who also steals from the home.
A news report releases captured CCTV footage from the robbery at Patridge's home. This concerns Marc, but Rebecca is undeterred and instigates a burglary at the home of Rachel Bilson. Word spreads amongst the group's social circles, and the girls boast of their accomplishments at parties, also posting photographs of the stolen items on social media sites. The group ultimately breaks into Lohan's house and robs it. Shortly after, Rebecca moves to Las Vegas with her father due to troubles at home, leaving some of her stolen items with Marc, who inadvertently helps Rebecca transfer stolen items across state lines.
News reports of the Hollywood Hills burglaries intensify, with the media labeling the group "The Bling Ring". CCTV from several robberies in addition to the evidence on social media allows authorities to identify the group. Police arrest Marc, Nicki, Chloe, Rebecca, Rob, and Ricky, but Sam is not identified in the footage and avoids arrest. Marc cooperates with the police, informing them on the details of the burglaries, much to the chagrin of Rebecca, who has been identified as the ringleader. A Vanity Fair journalist interviews Marc, who is remorseful, and Nicki, who vehemently suggests the others were at fault, and that she was simply involved with the wrong people. Rebecca also denies being at fault and tries to pass the blame for all of this to Marc and her other friends. The group is ultimately prosecuted, receiving varying amounts of jail time and is ordered to collectively pay millions of dollars in restitution for the stolen items.
The group serves their jail time, and Marc and Rebecca each go into seclusion from the press. They never see or speak to each other again, and both of them steadfastly blame each other for the robberies.
In the final scene, set a few months later, Nicki is on a talk show talking about her time in jail, and reveals that her cell was next to Lohan's. After digressing, she turns to the audience (and the viewers) as she finds a way to enhance her newfound notoriety, telling them to visit her now-popular website detailing her life after "The Bling Ring".Cameos
Paris Hilton as herself
Kirsten Dunst as herself
Brett Goodkin as himself
In December 2011, it was reported that Sofia Coppola was developing a screenplay for a film based on The Bling Ring burglaries, to be directed and produced by herself. Her father, Francis Ford Coppola, executive produced the project through his American Zoetrope production company. In April 2012, it was announced that financing had been set up with NALA Films, and Roman Coppola would also serve as a producer.
Emma Watson joined the cast of the film on February 29, 2012, and on March 1, Taissa Farmiga was reported to have joined the main cast. Also in early March, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the casting of Leslie Mann and Israel Broussard. On March 16, Claire Julien joined the cast, and Katie Chang and Georgia Rock were also confirmed for roles. That same month, Carlos Miranda was cast in a supporting role. In late March, Kirsten Dunst and Paris Hilton were both confirmed to make cameos in the film, as themselves. Gavin Rossdale was spotted on the set of the film on March 27, 2012.
Production primarily took place in and around Los Angeles, California in March and April 2012; notably in West Hollywood, Lynwood, and Venice. Paris Hilton, who was a victim during the actual Bling Ring robberies, and Kirsten Dunst, both made cameo appearances in the film. Some scenes were shot in the celebrity victims' homes and at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, California.
The Bling Ring: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was supervised by frequent Coppola collaborator Brian Reitzell. The film's soundtrack album was released on June 11, 2013 by Def Jam Recordings. It contains a mix of music ranging between such genres as hip-hop/rap, krautrock, and electronic. The musical score for the film was written by Reitzell in collaboration with Daniel Lopatin, known mostly under the recording name of Oneohtrix Point Never. In addition, Reitzell worked closely with Coppola to find contemporary music that would fit within the film's setting. After being contacted for song contributions, rapper Kanye West recommended Reitzell use Frank Ocean's then-unreleased "Super Rich Kids". Coppola's husband's band, Phoenix, also contributed the title track from their album Bankrupt!.
In January 2013, A24 Films acquired domestic distribution rights to the film. The film opened the Un Certain Regard section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on May 16. The film is Coppola's third in a row that deals heavily with the famous, following Marie Antoinette and Somewhere, a drama about a renowned actor and his 11-year-old daughter. About the premiere in Cannes, she said, "It seems like the perfect setting for The Bling Ring when you see people walking around in their heels. It's a glamorous place, so it feels appropriate." The film closed the 39th Seattle International Film Festival on June 9, 2013.
The Bling Ring was released via digital download on September 6, 2013, and on DVD and Blu-ray on September 17, 2013, by Lionsgate Home Entertainment. The extras include a behind the scenes making of the film, an interview with Coppola, and a tour of a crime scene by Bling Ring target Paris Hilton.
In its debut weekend in the United States, the film opened in five theaters with $214,395, for a per-theater average of $42,879. It was Coppola's best opening per-theater average, beating out Lost in Translation's intake of $40,221 from 23 locations in 2003. The following weekend, The Bling Ring expanded to 650 theaters, making $2 million for a per-theater average of $3,080. The film went on to gross $5.8 million domestically and $19.1 million worldwide.
The Bling Ring received generally positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 60% approval rating, based on reviews from 186 critics, with a weighted average of 6.3/10. The site's consensus reads, "While it's certainly timely and beautifully filmed, The Bling Ring suffers from director Sofia Coppola's failure to delve beneath the surface of its shallow protagonists' real-life crimes." This made it Coppola's second-lowest rated movie after Marie Antoinette. Metacritic has assigned the film an average score of 66 out of 100, based on 40 reviews from mainstream critics, indicating "generally positive reviews". The film has drawn comparisons to the Day-Glo cinematography of Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, which was also released under A24 Films.
Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly had a positive opinion, writing, "Watching The Bling Ring, the audience is invited to understand the impulses of these child-woman thieves, even as Coppola stands firmly apart from their craziness and sees them for who they are." Robbie Collin from The Daily Telegraph said, "Everything comes together for the good here: visuals, performances, raucous soundtrack, Coppola's teasing flirtation with, yet ultimate lack of commitment to, some kind of concrete morality." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said, "Coppola's attitude toward her subject seems equivocal, uncertain; there is perhaps a smidgen of social commentary, but she seems far too at home in the world she depicts to offer a rewarding critique of it."
Emma Watson's performance as Nicki received critical acclaim. Richard Roeper called her "comedic gold", while Gleiberman wrote that Watson "proves that her willingness to take chances is only growing, and that she's an actress serious enough to turn a line like 'Your butt looks awesome!' into something that reveals character." Cath Clarke of Time Out commented positively on Watson, saying, "The real story here isn't the good-girl-goes-bad stunt casting; it's that Watson can act. Against the odds, the Harry Potter star gives a sharp, knowing smart performance as Nicki." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote, "Emma Watson is sensational as Nicki, an underage club girl and actress wanna-be, who lives in a universe of Valley Girl narcissism eons away from Hogwarts." Even critics who gave the film overall negative reviews singled Watson out for praise, with Peter Howell from the Toronto Star saying, "The undistinguished young cast of The Bling Ring has just one standout, and that's Emma Watson, who plays one of the most vacuous of the juvenile thieves. We know her best as the brainy Hermione from the Harry Potter movies, and she can obviously do brainless equally well." Joe Neumaier of New York Daily News wrote, "Watson, though, does a great imitation of hollow-eyed gaze; her character is the one who tries to parlay notoriety into success (everyone else can, she figures). The one-time Harry Potter star captures the slack-jawed fan only too well." While not having seen the film then, Alexis Neiers, who inspired Watson's character, stated it looked "inaccurate and trashy" after she saw its first trailer.