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Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite continued to make headlines following its historic Oscar best picture victory.
Over the long Presidents Day holiday, the South Korean dark comedy-thriller made its biggest push yet in the U.S., expanding from 1,060 locations to 2,001. The move paid off as Parasite raced up the chart to No. 7 with $6.8 million — the film’s top weekend gross to date (indie distributor Neon first opened the film in select art house cinemas in early October).
Globally, Parasite celebrated its Academy Award victory by zooming past the $200 million mark for CJ Entertainment despite the fact that it opened in many key markets — including South Korea — months ago. This past weekend, it earned another $12.8 million for a foreign tally, through Sunday, of $161.1 million.
Its worldwide gross of $205 million includes $44.49 million in ticket sales in the U.S., where it now ranks No. 4 on the list of the top-grossing foreign-language films of all time after passing up Instructions Not Included ($44.47 million), not adjusted for inflation.
Box office analysts put Parasite‘s final U.S. gross at $50 million or more, the top showing for a non-English-language film since Zhang Yimou’s Hero 18 years ago. Overall, Hero ($53.7 million) ranks No. 3 behind Roberto Benigni’s 1997 hit Life Is Beautiful ($57.6 million) and Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from 2002 ($128.1 million).
Some think Parasite could even approach $60 million.
“It has become a must-see movie in a theater even though it is available on home video,” notes Comscore’s Paul Dergarabedian. “The only two movies people were talking about over Presidents Day were Sonic the Hedgehog and Parasite.”
Parasite is the first non-English-language film to ever win the Academy Award for best picture. It also won for best director, best original screenplay and best international picture. Also among the film’s glittering array of awards is the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or.
The pic’s post-Oscar boost will be among the best in modern times, according to Comscore. A U.S. gross of $50 million would put the bump at 29 percent, on par with Slumdog Millionaire, which won the top Oscar prize in 2008. The only best-picture winner since 1998 to see a greater percentage gain was Million Dollar Baby 15 years ago (34 percent).
Parasite is the widest non-English language release in the U.S. since 2004’s Kung Fu Hustle, which played in 2,503 theaters.
In yet another milestone, Parasite passed 2017’s I, Tonya ($30 million) to become the top-grossing release in the three-year history of Neon, run by Tom Quinn, not adjusted for inflation.
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