You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cannes Winner ‘Parasite’ Poised to Head Korean Box Office

South Korean film director Bong Joon-ho touched down to a hero’s welcome at Seoul’s Incheon Airport on Monday afternoon, after winning the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday with his black drama “Parasite’. He also received the news that the film is off to a flying start at the Korean box office.

According to ticket pre-sales data from the Kobis box office service of the Korean Film Council, “Parasite” should open as the top film next weekend. That puts it ahead of currently in theaters “Aladdin” and Wednesday release “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” KOBIS shows over 207,000 tickets sold ahead of the film’s Thursday release through CJ Entertainment.

The unanimous jury decision was the first Palme d’Or at Cannes for a Korean film and rectified a surprising omission, considering how many Korean films over the past 25 years have enjoyed global critical and commercial success. (No Korean film has ever been nominated for the foreign-language Oscar either, though last year’s “Burning” was included in the shortlist.)

At a press event in Cannes after his win, Bong said that there are many other Korean directors with the talent to win. On his arrival back home, Bong said: “The Cannes Film Festival has given a big present to the Korean film industry to celebrate its 100th anniversary.”

It is welcome news for a Korean entertainment industry that has recently been troubled by sex scandals, remains under scrutiny for the alleged anti-competitive practices of its leading studios, and before that suffered at the hands of the country’s previous governing regime.

“Parasite” which probes the curious relationship between a wealthy nuclear family and a family of poor who emerge, almost literally, from the sewers, is Bong’s first wholly-Korean film in 10 years since “Mother.” In intervening years he has made multinational fantasy “Snowpiercer” and Netflix creature feature “Okja”. The dark satire of “Parasite” is unlikely to be lost on audiences in Korea where vast gulfs between poor and the entitled elites have persisted despite the country’s economic success.

Overseas audiences will also get a taste of Bong’s unusual brand of social commentary. CJ reports having sold rights to the film to distributors covering over 190 territories. The Munich Film Festival next month will also host a Bong career retrospective.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Dominates With Soft $36 Million

    Five years after Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” cast a spell over the box office, the villainous enchantress has returned to the top of domestic charts. Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to 2014’s fantasy adventure based on the “Sleeping Beauty” sorceress, flew lower than the original and debuted to a disappointing $36 million from 2,790 [...]

  • MIA Wrap

    Rome MIA Market Wraps With Stronger U.S. Presence, Boosts Italy's Industry Standing

    Rome’s MIA market for TV series, feature films and documentaries wrapped positively Sunday with organizers boasting a bump in attendance just as some 2,500 executives departed in an upbeat mood after four days of dealmaking and presentations of mostly European fresh product, which elevated Italy’s global standing in the industry, especially within the TV sector. [...]

  • Film Republic Adds Further Sales for

    Film Republic Inks Further Deals for 'God of the Piano' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sales agent Film Republic has closed further territory sales on “God of the Piano.” Film Movement previously picked up North American rights to the film, as reported exclusively by Variety. Mont Blanc Cinema has taken the rights for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay. Limelight Distribution is looking after the Australian and New Zealand releases, Hualu [...]

  • ‘Bears Famous Invasion’s Lorenzo Mattotti Brings

    Lorenzo Mattotti on MIA Title ‘Bears Famous Invasion of Sicily’

    Illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti is no stranger to film festivals. The artist – a long-time New Yorker cover artist and onetime Lou Reed and Michelangelo Antonioni collaborator – has designed posters for past editions of Venice and Cannes, and has contributed to films that played in Toronto and Rome. This year, however, he experienced the festival [...]

  • Dreamworks Abominable

    'Abominable' Release in Malaysia Abandoned

    Plans to release the increasingly controversial Chinese-U.S. co-produced animation film “Abominable” in Malaysia have been dropped after the distributor said that it would not be cut to cater to political sensitivities. The film includes a scene which depicts a map showing the South China Sea and the so called “nine-dash line” that China uses to [...]

  • Hui He

    RAI Com Takes World Sales on Italy/China Doc About Star Soprano Hui He (EXCLUSIVE)

    Italy’s RAI Com has taken world sales on high-profile documentary “Hui He, the Soprano From the Silk Road,” which is about the personal and artistic journey of one of the world’s leading sopranos and also marks a milestone Italian-Chinese co-production. Hui He was born and trained as a singer in the Chinese city of Xi’an, [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen arrives for the New

    Bruce Springsteen Returns to NJ Hometown for Surprise 'Western Stars' Introduction

    Bruce Springsteen returned to his hometown of Freehold, New Jersey to offer a surprise introduction to the first public multiplex viewing of his concert/documentary film, “Western Stars.” Dressed simply in a brown jacket, Springsteen took a moment to say a few words at the AMC Freehold 14 movie theater on Saturday night. “We knew we [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content