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While Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is expected to dominate the global and international box office this weekend, Bong Joon-hos Cannes Palme dOr winner Parasite is coming on strong in its home market. The Thursday Korea opening was a No. 1 $3.93M (including previews), according to local reporting service Kobiz. That topped all comers and holdovers with about 76% of the market on 1,783 screens (more than double those reserved for the likes of Godzilla and Aladdin).

Last Saturday, Bongs multi-genre comedy-thriller became the first Korean film ever to scoop the top prize in Cannes and has been hailed at home as a triumph by an eager audience. Pre-sales were already at a high throughout this past week and a full weekend take of $15M+ is likely, with some estimates in the $20M range. If that happens, Parasite will enter the Top 20 openings ever in Korea. Warner Bros/Legendarys monster mash Godzilla bowed on Wednesday and through two days has taken about $752K per Kobiz. To be fair to the latter, and as we noted in our global preview, Korea doesnt typically rank in the top markets for Hollywood creature features — 2014s Godzilla did just $6M there — and Parasite has a lot of heat on it.

Korea has sophisticated audiences and a strong 100-year-old homegrown industry which in 2018 accounted for 50% of the $1.6B total box office there. The markets movies are often remade with Universals planned re-do of Extreme Job one of the latest in the offing. Next month, an update of 2014s Ode To My Father will hit Bollywood screens starring mega icon Salman Khan.

Curiously, however, no Korean film has ever even been nominated for a Foreign Language Film Oscar (a category that is henceforth to be known as International Feature Film). Last years Burning from Lee Chang-dong did make the shortlist, though.

Parasite is Bongs first fully Korean project since 2009s Mother. In the intervening years, he directed 2013s Snowpiercer starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Ed Harris and Octavia Spencer. In 2017, his Okja was a Netflix movie also with Swinton that stoked controversy in Cannes for bringing the streaming service to the competition. Bongs other credits include 2006s monster movie The Host and 2003s crime drama Memories Of Murder.

Parasite is striking a chord with local audiences, cheered by the recognition from Cannes and as it deals with a number of themes occurring in our world, from class struggle to global warming. On Monday, Bong and star Song Kang-ho received a heroes welcome at Seouls Incheon Airport (see video below).

South Koreas President Moon Jae-in also congratulated Bong, saying the win had brought a sense of national pride. Per AFP, his tweet (in Korean) read in part, “I extend my gratitude on behalf of the Korean people. I am very proud of Bong Joon-ho who has risen to the top as one of the worlds best directors.” He also called the film a “meaningful gift.” Thats in contrast to last years Palme dOr winner Shoplifters, which had a greatRead More – Source

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