Bong Joon Ho’s ‘Parasite’ Posts Powerful Opening in North America

Bong Joon-Ho’s dark comedy “Parasite,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, has launched with a spectacular $376,264 at three U.S. theaters.

Neon opened “Parasite” at The Landmark and Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles and at the IFC Center in New York, where it broke the opening record set by 2014’s “Boyhood.” Its per-screen average of $125,421 is the highest since the opening of “La La Land” in 2016, and it’s also the largest per screen average for any foreign language film.

“Parasite” is a return to Korean-language film for Joon-Ho following “Okja” and “Snowpiercer.” It is also his fourth collaboration with Song Kang-Ho, who stars in the film. The film also stars Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik and Park So-dam. Jessica Kiang called the film “brilliant” in her review for Variety out of Cannes.

The story centers on the interactions between two families — one being the picture of aspirational wealth and the other rich in street smarts but not much else. The poorer family members provide “indispensable” luxury services while gaining a way out of their shabby circumstances. But this new ecosystem turns out to be fragile.

Kwak Sin Ae and Jang Young Hwan from Barunson E&A Corp produced, with CJ Entertainment handling international sales and distributing in Korea. Neon bought North American rights to “Parasite” a year ago. Neon said the film now ranks as the 18th highest per screen average of all time.

“Parasite” will expand to additional theaters in New York and Los Angeles next week, in addition to opening in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

“Parasite” is South Korea’s entry for the best international film nominations at the Academy Awards. It has one of the highest profiles of the 93 entries along with Spain’s “Pain and Glory,” Japan’s “Weathering With You,” Senegal’s “Atlantics,” France’s “Les Miserables,” the UK’s “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” and Norway’s “Out Stealing Horses.”

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