It’s been five months since the Cannes Film Festival, where Parasite became the first Korean film to ever win the prestigious Palme d’Or. The hype isn’t going to be going away anytime soon, seeing as it’s also South Korea’s official submission for Best International Feature Film at next year’s 92nd Academy Awards—and, in the meantime, finally taking the focus away from Joker when it comes to box office news.
Parasite, which hit theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Thursday, is the Korean auteur Bong Joon Hoo’s first entirely Korean film since Mother in 2009. Like his previous two hit films, Snowpiercer and Okja, it’s also an unsettling meditation on class, this time centered around how a poor family, the Kims, scams its way into a strangely symbiotic relationship with a rich family, the Parks. The end result is disturbing, to say the least, as theater-goers across America learned en masse this weekend, flocking to theaters in such numbers that the film earned an an average of $125,000 per theater. In other words, it was the biggest platform release across three or more theaters since 2016’s La La Land, and one that landed Parasite a no. 13 ranking in terms of all-time averages, right between The Revenant and The Imitation Game.
In fact, the opening has been so strong that IndieWire ventured to call it “the Avengers: Endgame of subtitled films.” (As for how the select theaters are dealing with the influx, well, the Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles has taken to showing Parasite simultaneously across six different screens.) True to its name, the film already has plans for an even larger takeover, too: by the end of the month, IndieWire reports, it will have found a home in up to 100 theaters across 25 cities.