No matter how 2020 turns out, this year did something right when Parasite won Best Picture, among other awards, at the Oscars. Parasite’s Oscar wins are the good vibes we need, and the good vibes keep going as Parasite is extending its hit theatrical run in the wake of its victory. Every year someone inevitably asks if the Oscars even matter, and the answer is always yes, because the Oscars have a demonstrable effect on box office. Nominations and wins mean more money in the coffers, and that is true for Parasite. Following its Oscar triumph, North American distributor Neon re-released the film in 2,000 theaters, and Parasite landed in the top ten over the long US weekend. It has now made almost $45 million domestically, on top of over $160 million internationally. Parasite is now in the $200 million club. If you think this won’t encourage other distributors to take more chances on foreign films, think again. It also means every studio under the sun is trying to get ahold of Bong Joon-ho right now for his next project.
The first thing Bong has lined up is a Parasite limited series at HBO which he is co-producing with Adam McKay. This is the inevitable “do it in English this time” moment all successful subtitled films have (see also: Force Majeure and Downhill), but Bong is participating in this project and he seems excited about it. Talking to Sharon Waxman of The Wrap, Bong said, “I had all these key ideas accumulated from when I started writing the script. […] I just couldn’t include all those ideas in the two-hour running time of the film, so they’re all stored in my iPad and my goal with this limited series is to create a six-hour-long film.”
I don’t hate this as much as most English-language remakes of perfectly fine foreign-language films, because it seems less like a remake and more like an expansion pack. Bong had ideas he didn’t get to in the movie, then someone offered him a platform for those ideas. I’m never going to complain about more Bong Joon-ho content in the world. (I feel the same about the Snowpiercer series coming to TNT. That movie is awesome, but the world is dense, and a TV series offers more room to unpack individual concepts.) I’m also never going to complain about Tilda Swinton and Mark Ruffalo working together, and they are the rumored leads of the series. Everyone should absolutely see Parasite. Nothing will ever be like Bong’s film. But I have room in my heart for the expansion pack, too, because I will never get tired of seeing Boon Joon-ho succeed in every possible way, on every possible stage, in every medium available to him.