It's official: Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula is a hit. The zombie sequel made its debut overseas over the weekend in five key markets, including Korea, where the movie hails from. All told, director Yeon Sang-ho's follow-up to 2016's acclaimed breakout hit earned more than $20 million in its debut. With theaters shut down around the globe largely since mid-March, an opening of this size hasn't happened in months, making this a huge win and a much-needed sign of life for the industry.
Train to Busan 2 brought in $13.2 million in Korea, overtaking another local hit, #Alive. In Taiwan, the movie earned $4.7 million, which represents $76 percent of the total box office in the country. In Vietnam, the sequel earned a little over $1 million in preview screenings. Malaysia added $995,000 to the total, with Singapore taking in $795,000. For a movie of this size, that is encouraging on all fronts. What's more, it signifies that audiences are very hungry for new content and will return to theaters when it is safe to do so.
Setting the unique circumstances aside for a moment, in many ways, it is not all that surprising (though great news nonetheless) that Peninsula did so well. Train to Busan, was a massive hit, earning $92 million globally. Back in February, rights to the sequel sold all around the world, indicating a high level of interest. Well Go USA has picked up the North American rights, with plans for a theatrical release at the end of the month. Though that is largely dependent upon theater reopenings. It will also be streaming on Shudder in early 2021, with the service picking up the exclusive rights.
Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula stars Gang Dong-won and Lee Jung-hyun. It centers on a soldier named Jung-seok who already escaped the zombie-infested wasteland with his life. He is forced to relive the horror all over again when he's tasked with a covert retrieval mission. The team is thrown for a loop when they unexpectedly find a group of survivors. Their lives will depend on whether the best, or worst, of human nature prevails under these dire circumstances.
This does open up questions about what might happen at the box office in the coming weeks. If theaters in the U.S. can't open as planned, and a recent report from an industry analyst suggested theaters may not open en masse until mid-2021, studios may be faced with tough decisions. Is it possible that blockbusters such as Tenet could first be released overseas, with a U.S. release to follow once things return to normal? If the money continues to flow in open markets as the weeks roll on, unique distribution strategies may well emerge, as studios have sacrificed millions in box office dollars during the shutdown. For now, the good news is we have a legitimate hit on our hands. This news comes to us via Deadline.