UPDATED: Korean smash zombie thriller Peninsula has come in slightly higher than estimated on Sunday, with sales agent Contents Panda reporting a $20.82M take in five Asian markets. The clear No. 1 in Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, this is a terrific boost to the international box office which hasn’t seen these kinds of numbers from a single title since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. In mid-March, for example, the Top 5 movies overseas did a combined $30.7M.
Peninsula, Yeon Sang-ho’s follow-up to his 2016 hit Train To Busan, continues to demonstrate audience hunger for new blood, particularly such an anticipated sequel. It did a confirmed $13.2M in Korea. It set a 2020 opening day high on Wednesday, and through Sunday overtook another recent Korean breakout, #Alive, which has now cumed $13M there. In Taiwan, Peninsula grossed $4.7M with 76% market share and approximately 2,300~2,400 shows per day. Vietnam, where the movie was in sneaks, did $1.17M, the best debut ever for a Korean title. Malaysia, which opened Peninsula on Thursday, added $955K; and Singapore took in $795K to best Train To Busan‘s launch weekend (doing so on Saturday).
Of the total weekend, $750K came from just 45 Imax screens and helped the format to have its first $1M global session since mid-March. See more detail below.
PREVIOUS, SUNDAY 8:24AM PT: Yeon Sang-ho’s Peninsula, the follow-up to his 2016 zombie smash, Train To Busan, made a meal of the international box office this weekend, in Korea and four other markets. The thriller sequel (aka Train To Busan Presents: Peninsula) already logged the biggest opening day score of the year in its home market on Wednesday and went on to rule the weekend with what Kobiz estimates is a $13.2M Korea bow. Industry sources think the high-teens or even $20M could be possible across the entire frame from Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. Of that, $750K comes from just 45 Imax screens; combined with other films Imax is playing globally, this is the first time the format has had a $1M session since mid-March.
Wherever the official number lands this weekend (and we’ll update that tomorrow), this is terrific news for the international box office which has plummeted during the coronavirus crisis, and is another clear sign of audience hunger for fresh titles. It also comes ahead of China getting back to business tomorrow — outside Beijing and its immediate environs, though also as Spain has seen some cinema re-closures this weekend (however, Spain has been in general on a slow reopening rollout with just 40% of movie houses open last session).
The Korea Peninsula session is at $13.2M through Sunday, per local reporting. There was a 95% jump from Friday to Saturday and just a slight 15% decrease on Sunday; screens were added throughout the frame. The film crossed 1M admissions on Saturday, only the second picture to the milestone since February — and got there faster than recent Korean hit #Alive. Peninsula‘s estimated 1.8M ticket sales this weekend are a 420% increase over last session’s entire admissions for all films.
In Taiwan, we are hearing a possible $5M start after Peninsula opened bigger than Train To Busan on Wednesday. Around another $1M is expected to come from Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam (the film was in previews in the latter).
For Imax, Peninsula wrangled $750K in the five markets, and on just 45 screens. Released by Next Entertainment World in Korea, the horror title took $365K from 18 Imax screens. This is the 4th best opening weekend for a Korean local language title in Imax, despite capacity limitations in the market and the ongoing pandemic. The Imax weekend gross represents 2.6% of the overall box office total in Korea from only 0.7% of the 2,600 screens.
In Taiwan, Peninsula fleshed out $310K from 10 Imax screens, 6.5% of nationwide box office from 3% of the roughly 300 screens. This is the 2nd best Imax opening weekend for a Korean film ever in the market.
The 17 combined Imax screens from Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam contributed an additional $75K. As for the other $250K bringing IMAX’s full weekend to $1M, some of that is from re-releases of classic titles, ie The Dark Knight in Japan and others.
Peninsula has been one of the most anticipated Korean movies of the year and picks up four years after the original. It centers on Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won), a soldier who previously escaped the diseased wasteland, and relives the horror when assigned to a covert operation with two simple objectives: retrieve and survive. When his team unexpectedly stumbles upon survivors, their lives will depend on whether the best — or worst — of human nature prevails in the direst of circumstances.
The movie was part of the official selection of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and is set to hit North American theaters via Well Go on August 7. It also landed an exclusive streaming deal with Shudder, AMC’s horror streaming site. Contents Panda has sold the film to 190 countries.
Peninsula will add Thailand, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Cambodia in the coming weeks.
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