×

‘Snowpiercer’ Arrives on Video in France Two Months Ahead of Delayed U.S. Release

U.S. audiences still waiting to catch Bong Joon-ho's sci-fier in theaters can own it now in a handsome Blu-ray edition.

While director Bong Joon-ho’s dystopian sci-fi spectacular “Snowpiercer” is still two months away from its long-delayed U.S. release via Weinstein Co. subsidiary Radius, in France (where it was released last fall) Bong’s film has newly arrived on Blu-ray and standard DVD from distributor Wild Side.

Best of all is a deluxe box set that includes the Blu-ray, DVD, an 80-page coffee-table book about the making of the film and a second book of concept drawings by French illustrator Jean-Marc Rochette. In addition, the Blu-ray contains more than two hours of bonus features, including a making-of documentary, an anime prologue and interviews with stars Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt and Octavia Spencer. All for the low, low price of just €40 (plus shipping) from Amazon France.

Based on the French graphic novel “Le Transperceneige,” the $40 million, English-language “Snowpiercer” opened to strong reviews and boffo box office last August in South Korea, where it went on to gross $60 million. After subsequent openings in China, France and Italy, the pic’s global cume now sits at a tidy $80 million.

But as first reported last summer and more recently detailed at length by the British critic Tony Rayns in the January issue of Sight & Sound magazine, the fate of Bong’s film in the English-speaking world has been hamstrung for most of the past year by violent disagreements between Bong and TWC, which prebought the film during production for North America, the U.K., South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

According to Rayns and other sources, TWC wished to dramatically recut the film for release in its markets, including the removal of 25 minutes from the 125-minute running time and the addition of voiceover narration written by British fantasy author Neil Gaiman.

Bong demurred and news of the dispute soon went public, culminating in a November 2013 incident at the Museum of Modern Art that landed on Page Six of the New York Post. Speaking onstage at a MoMA tribute to Swinton, Bong regaled the A-list society crowd (including David Bowie, Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld and Michael Bloomberg) with tales of his misadventures in the Harvey Weinstein trade. According to the Post, the crowd erupted with laughter at the mention of Weinstein’s name, before the Korean interpreter could even translate Bong’s other remarks.

Now, after all the Sturm und Drang, Radius will distribute Bong’s director’s cut after all, albeit in far more limited fashion that one would expect for a high-end fantasy/sci-fi pic starring none other than Captain America and a cast of Oscar winners and nominees (also including John Hurt and Octavia Spencer). But by waiting so long to unveil “Snowpiercer” Stateside, TWC has made it possible for anyone with a region-free DVD player to simply import the film themselves, and for less than the cost of a family night out at the movies.

Radius releases the film June 27, following its June 11 North American premiere as the opening-night selection of the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Parasite

    Mexico’s Cinepolis Launching New Arthouse Distributor with ‘Parasite’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MORELIA, Mexico – There’s a new arthouse player in town. Cinepolis, one of the top exhibitors in the world, is launching a new arthouse film distribution unit in Mexico called Sala de Arte Distribucion. Focusing on auteur films that have premiered at leading film festivals worldwide, Sala de Arte launches in December with “Parasite,” Bong [...]

  • US director Francis Ford Coppola holds

    Francis Ford Coppola's Slam on Marvel Films Fuels Debate Sparked by Martin Scorsese

    Disparaging remarks by Francis Ford Coppola have further inflamed the debate sparked by Martin Scorsese and his criticism of Marvel and other comic book films. At a press conference in Lyon, France, where he was being honored at the Lumiere festival, the “Godfather” director said he fully agreed with Scorsese’s assessment and went even further [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent and Elle

    China Box Office: Hollywood Sweeps Up With ‘Maleficent’ and ‘Gemini Man’

    The first Hollywood blockbusters to hit China after the country’s big National Day holiday have, as expected, swept away holdover patriotic titles that had previously ruled the box office. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” edged out another new release, “Gemini Man,” to lead the pack with a $22.5 million opening weekend. While Disney’s “Maleficent” arrived in [...]

  • Maleficent Mistress of Evil

    Korea Box Office: 'Maleficent 2' Debuts on Top, Deposes 'Joker'

    Given a Thursday opening, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted on top of the South Korean box office. The Walt Disney release earned $4.56 million from 612,000 admissions over four days. The fantasy adventure film accounted for 37% of total weekend box office in the country. “Joker” slipped to second after remaining on top for two [...]

  • Inside an Inox Leisure multiplex in

    India's Inox Multiplex Chain Reveals Ambitious Growth Plans

    Indian multiplex chain Inox Leisure has revealed ambitious plans to more than double its existing screen capacity of 600. The company is planning to add 900 more screens across the country over the next decade. “That’s the realistic answer, but my desire is to do it over the next five years,” Siddharth Jain, director, Inox [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content