Yeon Sang-ho’s thriller is doing strong business overseas, where theaters have begun to open up.
While the global box office may be crippled right now, one movie that brought a dose of hope to South Korean theaters this past weekend was Yeon Sang-ho’s “Peninsula.” The sequel to 2016’s cult favorite “Train to Busan,” the post-apocalyptic thriller earned $13 million at the South Korean box office, according to Deadline’s figures. In Taiwan, a reported figure of at least $5 million was earned for “Peninsula,” with receipts in Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. “Peninsula” also delivered IMAX a win this weekend, bringing global totals to $1 million for the first time since mid-March, which was the last time many moviegoers went to a theater. $750,000 of the IMAX totals came from “Peninsula.” Stateside, “Peninsula” is currently dated to open from Well GO USA on August 7.
The original “Train to Busan” netted $92 million at the global box office back in 2016, but continues to have a life on Netflix. The horror action movie depicted a “Snowpiercer”-esque train ride through a zombie apocalypse. Set four years after the events of “Train to Busan,” “Peninsula” stars Gang Dong-won as a soldier who managed to get out of zombie-infested South Korea, where the government has completely collapsed and turned the country into a slum. When he’s sent back to Korea to retrieve something valuable, his return is of course complicated by infected and non-infected people alike.
While “Train to Busan” had a Cannes premiere, that was not possible for “Peninsula,” which made its global debut this weekend. Yeon has cited such influences as “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Land of the Dead,” and “Thunderdome” for the sequel. This time around, Yeon is also working on a bigger canvas, emboldened by the success of the original. “The scale of ‘Peninsula’ can’t compare to ‘Train to Busan,’ it makes it look like an independent film,” Yeon told Screen.
In “Train to Busan,” “The Age of Shadows” star Gong Yoo plays Seok-woo, a workaholic who’s distracted by his job in finance, and estranged from his kid daughter and wife, who lives in Busan. For her birthday, Seok-Woo agrees to take her to her mother in Busan via train from Seoul. But what was meant to be a simple father-daughter journey turns into the ride from hell, as a virus of unknown origin rapidly spreads on the train, transforming victims into zombies in swift and hideous ways.