Based on a French comic book by Jean-Marc Rochette and Jacques Lob, Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s (The Host) English-language film, Snowpiercer has had a hell of a time getting to the big screen, but it’s not an issue of translation. Although it was released in Korea last August, the long delay of Snowpiercer‘s U.S. release has been due to conflicts between Bong and Harvey Weinstein of The Weinstein Company, the film’s U.S. distributor. The issue it seems is Weinstein’s desire to have the film cut down so it can be presented as an action thriller rather than the character-driven drama Bong intended. We previously reported the Weinstien Company would give the film a wide release in its edited form. Now, that seems to have changed.
According to Deadline, Bong and Weinstein have reached an agreement: Snowpiercer will be released uncut, but as a limited release. Much like the previous plan, there are positives and negatives to this development. On one hand, audiences will be able to see the director’s work as he meant it to be. On the other hand, that audience will be considerably smaller it would have been if Weinstein had gotten his way.
The logic behind the smaller release – Americans apparently aren’t too fond of dramas – is a bit questionable, especially when you consider that the film boasts several recognizable cast members, including Chris Evans (Captain America), Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia), and Octavia Spenser (The Help). The agreement does suggest that a strong limited rollout could lead to an expansion, but this is pretty much the case with most films, and it remains to be seen if Snowpiercer can hit the box office hard enough to demand expansion.