The Best Picture winner at the 2020 Oscars, Parasite, earned a remarkably large £1.4million (including previews) during its opening weekend at the UK box office – 7-9th February 2020.
The Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer; Okja) directed film earned £1.07million from 137 cinemas across the United Kingdom Friday to Sunday, with a further £330,000 being earned from previews that included a Live Satellite Q&A on the Monday following the 2020 BAFTAs, where the film won the award for Film Not In the English Language.
This figure, although significantly lower than the totals earned by Dolittle (£3.12m), Birds of Prey (£2.83m) and BAFTA Best Picture winner 1917 (£2.27m) over the weekend, means that Parasite is already one of the UK’s 3 highest earning non-Bollywood foreign language film releases in the past 10 years.
Traditionally, foreign language films rarely push the £1million mark in the UK, with the likes of Pain & Glory (2019) being the exceptions that prove the rule – the Pedro Almodóvar and Antonio Banderas movie earning £1.5million during its entire run. In earning over £1million in just 3 days, and its Best Picture success bringing about a wide release in more frequently visited cinema chains such as Cineworld, Parasite could become the highest grossing foreign language film ever released in the British market.
While the record holder for a subtitled film over the three day weekend period remains Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto (2007) at £1.36m, Bong Joon-ho’s much lauded Parasite has notably outgrossed that release when previews are taken into account (£1.4m), itself earning an average of just under £8,000 per screen in a relatively limited release.
Sure to be given a weekday boost by its Oscar wins, and bound to be given another injection of momentum from its debut at major cineplexes this Friday, Parasite is likely to set new records for subtitled film releases and, in turn, bring wider change to the way foreign language films are distributed moving forward.