Bong Joon-ho’s Cannes Film Festival-winning film Parasite topped the South Korean box office over the weekend of May 31-June 2, raking in a cumulative $25 million.
The first film from the country to win the Palme d’Or at the prestigious French festival, Parasite accounted for 69.3 percent of the market share. This beats the $20 million opening score for Bong’s Snowpiercer, a critically and popularly celebrated film that also stars Parasite leading man Song Kang-ho opposite Tilda Swinton and Chris Evans.
Bong’s 2006 film The Host, among the top films of all time at the South Korean box office and also starring Song, opened to about $12 million (about $15 million today accounting for inflation).
Even prior to its release, Parasite made headlines for crossing its break-even point from its whopping global sales deals to 192 territories and had advance online ticket sales. Bong and Song received an enthusiastic homecoming when they arrived with their trophies. Much media attention has been paid to Bong’s oeuvre, with an in-depth documentary feature by local broadcaster MBC due to air Monday night.
Local critics have particularly noted the Palme d’Or as a crowning moment in Korean cinema, which fetes its centennial this year. Parasite is Bong’s first fully Korean film in 10 years, following his 2017 Netflix title Okja and his English-language breakthrough in 2012 with Snowpiercer.
Parasite‘s stellar debut bumped Aladdin down to number 2 at the South Korean box office with 17.8 percent of the market share for a total of $15.1 million. Godzilla: King of the Monsters came in third with 4.8 percent for a cume of $2.2 million; South Korean film The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil, which received a midnight screening at Cannes, dropped two spots to finish fourth with 4 percent of the share for a total $24 million; and local horror flick 0.0MHz ranked fifth with 1.5 percent for a cume $711,384.