Foreign Box Office: South Korea's 'Peninsula' Bows to Big $20M

Peninsula Still 1 - Edko Films Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Edko Films


The movie's strong performance in select Asian markets is welcome news for the film business amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

South Korean filmmaker Yeon Sang-ho’s Peninsula — a follow-up to the 2016 cult zombie action flick Train to Busan — scored an impressive $20 million in its international debut in a much-needed boost for the box office, according to early industry estimates.

That includes $13.2 million in South Korea despite capacity limitations and ongoing concerns amid the novel coronavirus. The film also launched over the weekend in four other Asian markets, including Taiwan ($4.7 million) and Malaysia ($4.1 million).

While cinemas remain shuttered in the U.S., theaters in many regions overseas are reopening, albeit with social distancing measures in place such as staggered seating.

Yoen's film helped propel Imax to its first $1 million weekend since the coronavirus pandemic struck earlier this year, including $750,000 from 45 screens in the five Asian markets. South Korea led with $365,000 from 18 locations. That result is the fourth-best opening weekend ever for a Korean local-language title in Imax.

In Taiwan, 10 Imax screens turned in $310,000, the circuit's second-best debut for a Korean film.

In 2016, Train to Busan dazzled with a global gross of $140 million. The sequel, set four years after the ending of the original, is described as a postapocalyptic film about people fighting to escape the land ruined by disaster.

Both films are from producer RedPeter Films and distributor Next World Entertainment.

The European box office is also coming back. Over the weekend, the Russell Crowe road-rage thriller Unhinged debuted in Germany.

Theaters in the U.S. had hoped to reopen by the end of the month, in time for Unhinged, which is set to debut domestically on July 31, and in preparation for Christopher Nolan's Tenet on Aug. 12 and Niki Caro's Mulan on Aug. 21. However, a surge in coronavirus cases in a number of states is making that plan unlikely.

While it will still continue to roll out overseas, Unhinged is expected to delay its release in the U.S., where a number of key box office markets remain dark, including New York City and all of California. There's also speculation that Tenet may have to relocate. The late-summer calendar also includes Sony's rom-com The Broken Hearts Gallery, which is set for Aug. 7.

July 20, 8:30 a.m. Updated with official grosses.