Speaking both before and after a gala screening of the dark sci-fi drama at the Busan festival on Monday night, Bong made a point of calling out to any North Americans, Brits and Australians to let them know that this would be only chance to see the film as he intended it to be watched.
While Bong’s English-language picture now has firm release dates in France (October), Taiwan and Japan (February), he said that the final cut of the film in English-speaking territories lies with The Weinstein Company. “We are still in discussions about the cut, but it is clear that this is the only director’s cut you will be able to see,” Bong said.
Bong did not provide details of his differences with TWC and understatedly said from the stage that the version for English-language release would be “a little bit different,” but sources close to the director say that privately he is furious. He has been quoted in other media as saying that up to 20 minutes are to be cut.
The film was a surprise and substantial hit in Bong’s native Korea, where it was released on Aug. 1 and has so far gathered an audience of 9.8 million, or just shy of a quarter of nthe Korean population, for a gross of $61.5 million.