After opening to $25M in the wake of its historic Palme d’Or win at the Cannes Film Festival in May, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite has crossed the $50M milestone in its home market. The multi-genre comedy-thriller is the first Korean film ever to scoop the top prize in Cannes and is now the No. 3 movie of the year in Korea, passing Captain Marvel with $52.4M to date per Kobiz. It’s currently behind the No. 2 pic Avengers: Endgame ($103M) and local title Extreme Job ($118M).
Parasite, about a low-income family who works its way into a rich family’s lives as household employees with zany results, has held the No. 1 spot in Korea since its release, topping all comers including the debuts of Godzilla: King Of The Monsters and Dark Phoenix.
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The May 30 opening weekend was Bong’s best yet with 2.79M admissions versus 2013’s Snowpiercer which previously held the record for the director at 2.27M admissions. It is not his best overall score, yet. Per local reporting outfit Kobiz, Snowpiercer made $56.7M (9.35M admissions) and The Host in 2006 did $56.5M off higher admissions of 10.9M. Parasite currently has sold 7.2M tickets with some predicting the 10M mark is possible.
The film has sold worldwide via CJ Entertainment, and made about $2.8M in France this weekend, but China is understood to not yet be in the mix. Cannes titles have recently found much success in the latter, including last year’s Palme d’Or laureate Shoplifters ($14.1M) and Jury Prize winner Capernaum ($54M). Parasite rolls out elsewhere over the summer and into the fall. Neon has it dated for October 11 in New York and Los Angeles, positioning it for awards season. However, we won’t know until later this year if it is Korea’s official submission for the International Feature Film Oscar (formerly the Foreign Language Film category). No Korean title has ever been nominated, though last year’s Burning from Lee Chang-dong did make the shortlist.
Parasite has been hailed at home as a triumph by an eager, and sophisticated, audience. Bong and star Song Kang-ho received a heroes’ welcome at Seoul’s Incheon Airport after returning from Cannes and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in also congratulated the director calling the film a “meaningful gift.”
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