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[HanCinema's News] "Parasite" Faces Controversy Over Favorable Screening Treatment

2019/06/11 | 338 views | Permalink

After twelve days of availability in wide release, "Parasite" has amassed 7.2 million admissions. Though impressive, the film has nonetheless come under fire for receiving unusually high representation in screenings following its Palme d'Or win, which may have artifically improved its box office performance, as consumers did not have other options in favorable timeslots.

On its first day of availability "Parasite" appeared on 1,783 screens across South Korea. By the second day this had boosted to 1,947 screenings. Its occupancy rate per screening was 60.4%, and screenings of "Parasite" made up 53.1% of all screenings across the country.

By June 6th the occupancy rate was down to 59.8%. While still strong, "Parasite" was vastly outperformed on this metric by Disney's "Aladdin" remake, with a rate of 75.6%. This outcome was especially surprising, as "Aladdin" had released a full week before "Parasite". "Aladdin" broke the million viewer mark in its third weekend, having failed to break eight hundred thousand viewers in either of its first two weekends, and has now achieved over four million cumulative viewers.

"Aladdin" is probably benefiting from being the only widely distributed movie right now with an all ages rating designating it as appropriate for children. "Parasite" has also come under fire for being granted a 15 rating, appropriate for those above that age, even though the movie features a dry sex scene and some fairly shocking violence.

"Parasite" is in a peculiar position politically. Legislation is actively being proposed to cap screening rates from exceeding 50% or even 40% thresholds. However, as an artistic film that has gained international recognition, "Parasite" is nominally the kind of film such legislation would be expected to benefit, while in this case the local high brow favorite is being pushed over the international corporatized mainstream movie.

Written by William Schwartz

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"Parasite" is directed by Bong Joon-ho, and features Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Jo Yeo-jung, Choi Wooshik, Park So-dam, Lee Jung-eun. Release date in Korea: 2019/05/30.

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