The post-Oscars boost that Parasite has enjoyed continues to surge. After Bong Joon Ho’s film won Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year (becoming the first foreign language film to do so), the increased interest in the South Korean film prompted U.S. distributor Neon to expand its release. Over this past Presidents Day weekend, it expanded to its widest release yet at 2,001 theaters.
That savvy move is showing a return on investment as the film saw a bump at the box office, landing at #7. As pointed out in our box office recap for this week, “It’s now been playing in theaters for a staggering 19 weeks now, and it’s made over $175.2 million worldwide against a reported budget of just $11 million.” Its $6.8 million haul this past weekend was good enough for its best weekend yet in the U.S.
That global total now stands at $201 million and at $45.8 million for the U.S. (according to Box Office Mojo; THR has the global total at $205 million and domestic total at $44.49 million), good enough to now be #4 on the list of highest-grossing foreign-language films in the U.S. of all time. This past weekend it passed up Mexican dramedy Instructions Not Included ($44.47 million). Box office experts predict Parasite will top out its U.S. gross at at least $50 million, but there are plenty who believe it could make $60 million or more. If it does hit this high end, it will leapfrog the next two foreign-language films on the list: Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s Hero is #3 on the list at $53.7 million and Italian Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful is #2 at $57.6 million.
However, even if Bong’s film meets or even exceeds that $60 million mark, it will move no higher than #2 on the list: Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is still far and away the king of the hill at $128.1 million.
Even outside of comparing it to other foreign-language films, Parasite‘s post-Oscars Best Picture bump of 29% is the biggest in over a decade: 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire also saw a 29% bump and it was another five years before that that Million Dollar Baby saw a bump of 34%. Along with being the only foreign-language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars, Bong also won for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Picture. It was also the first South Korean film to win the coveted Palme d’Or award, Cannes’ top prize and the first foreign-language film to ever win Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the SAG Awards. Landing at #2 on the U.S. list of highest-grossing foreign films should be just fine after its historic run through festival season and then awards season.
Still, it will be interesting to see just how far Parasite can go in the U.S. If Bong’s masterful, layered story is the one that gets more Americans comfortable with watching subtitles and interested in foreign films, it would only be an even greater win for everyone involved.
Parasite is in theaters now. Get tickets to the history-making film here.