Yeon Sang-ho’s Peninsula, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2016 cult zombie thriller Train to Busan, did not disappoint with an impressive $20.8 million in its international premiere, according to early industry estimates. The film’s early success is hopeful news for the film business and cinema owners, providing a much-needed boost for the box office.
Even amid capacity limitations due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, at the South Korean box office alone, the apocalyptic thriller earned $13.2 million. The film also saw opening successes in the four other Asian markets (Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam) it launched in over the weekend, with Taiwan earning $4.7 million and Malaysia $4.1 million.
Peninsula also helped IMAX reach a rare win this weekend, delivering global totals to $1 million for the first time since mid-March, when the novel coronavirus was first beginning to spread. Of the IMAX totals, $750,000 came from Peninsula, with South Korea leading with $365,000 from 18 locations, making it the fourth-best opening weekend ever for a Korean local-language title in IMAX.
Pickering up four years after after the original hit Train to Busan, which churned out a global gross of $140 million, the sequel centers on Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won), a soldier who previously escaped the zombie-infested wasteland that was once a polished South Korea, and is thrust back into the horror when assigned to a secret mission that requires him to return to Korea to retrieve something valuable. His two simple objectives: retrieve and survive. However, things aren’t so simple once he returns and encounters both non-infected and infected survivors.
Despite being unable to have a Cannes premiere like Train to Busan, Peninsula was part of the official selection of this year’s Cannes Film Festival and is scheduled to appear in North American theaters via Well Go on August 7. It is also set to stream exclusively on Shudder, AMC’s horror streaming site.
While it is unclear when theaters will be able to reopen safely across the U.S., international theaters have been slowly opening back up with social distancing measures, such as staggered seating, in place. In fact, Peninsula will add Thailand, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Cambodia in the coming weeks.
Both Peninsula and Train to Busan are from producer RedPeter Films and distributor Next World Entertainment.