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South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho’s drama slipped less than 10 percent — compared to 30 percent the previous weekend — grossing $633,500 from 306 cinemas to land at No. 13 and cross the $20 million mark domestically for indie distributor Neon.
Parasite is now days away from becoming one of the top 10-grossing foreign-language films of all time at the U.S. box office despite not having played in more than 620 cinemas at its widest point.
The pic — about a poverty-stricken family who hustle a wealthy couple with unintended consequences — is nominated for Globes in the best director, foreign-language film and screenplay categories (it isn’t eligible for best picture).
Also in the past week, Parasite landed a SAG best ensemble nom and was voted best picture by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association after beginning its big-screen journey by winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Parasite isn’t the only title benefiting from an awards box-office bump.
Jay Roach’s Bombshell opened to a stellar location average of $78,025 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles over the weekend. Charlize Theron is up for a Globe for best actress in a drama, while the film also landed a best SAG ensemble mention, among other accolades. (The bigger test for the Lionsgate release will happen next weekend, when it expands nationwide.)
Nevertheless, Josh and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler, bested Bombshell with a dazzling opening weekend average of $105,100 from five theaters — a new record for A24 — even though the dramedy was shut out of this year’s Globe and SAG races.
Uncut Gems was instead tapped as one of the best 10 films of the year by the National Board of Review, while Sandler was anointed best actor. (Uncut Gems, like Bombshell, will face a crucial test when expanding nationwide on Christmas Day.)
Director Clint Eastwood’s awards hopeful Richard Jewell — which likewise landed on the top 10 NBR list — tanked in its nationwide debut with $5 million.
This year, the post-Globe nomination box office bump didn’t matter for four of the 10 best picture nominees, since they are Netflix titles that aren’t getting a traditional theatrical release. The Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes — all from the streamer — are up for best picture in the drama category opposite Joker, which has already played in cinemas, and Sam Mendes’ 1917, which opens Dec. 25.
Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name will vie for best comedy or musical opposite Knives Out, Jojo Rabbit, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Rocketman. Knives Out is already a box office hit, having earned $162.2 million globally to date for Lionsgate and MRC. (MRC shares a parent company, Valence Media, with The Hollywood Reporter.)
Fox Searchligh’s Jojo Rabbit, directed by Taika Waititi, dipped 35 percent over the weekend to $375,000 from 400 cinemas for a domestic cume of $20 million. While it didn’t see the same sort of boost that Parasite enjoyed, the black comedy is among the most successful specialty pics of 2019 so far.
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