Oscar-winning "Parasite" director Bong Joon-ho said Wednesday the film's "biggest pleasure and the most significant meaning" to him is that it succeeded even though the audiences might feel uncomfortable with his explicit description of bitter wealth disparity in modern society.
Bong's dark comic thriller about two families on the opposite ends of South Korea's social spectrum is a history-making film. It won best picture at this month's 92nd Academy Awards ceremony, becoming the first non-English-language film to get the top honor. Bong and his film clinched three other Oscars.
Bong told reporters that the movie's story has not only "funny, comic" elements but also "bitter, painful natures" of the disparity between the haves and have-nots in modern society.
"I didn't want to avoid such a part even a little bit," Bong told a nationally televised news conference. "Audiences might hate that or feel uncomfortable to watch it ... but I thought the only option I can have for this movie is depicting the world we live as frankly as possible, though that might be risky commercially."
Noting that "Parasite" was already commercially successful in North America, France, Vietnam, Japan, the United Kingdom and his native South Korea even before his Oscar triumph, Bong said, "Regardless of the (Oscar) wins, the biggest pleasure and the most significant meaning was the fact that many audiences around the world of our times respond to the movie."
The class satire tells the story of how a family of four poor, unemployed people living in a slum basement apartment comically infiltrates a wealthy family residing at a luxurious mansion before things unravel violently and tragically.
Bong already had commercial and critical success with his 2013 sci-fi film "Snowpiercer," which starred Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton along with South Korean "Parasite" actor Song Kang-ho. But nothing that's come before has been remotely as successful as "Parasite," a profoundly South Korean film shot in the Korean language.
Along with the best picture award, Bong was also named best director and co-shared another Oscar title, best original screenplay, with "Parasite" co-writer Han Jin Won. The film won best international feature film as well.
The movie, which is also the first South Korean film to win an Oscar, has made Bong a national hero. Ahead of April's parliamentary elections in South Korea, some politicians even proposed setting up a Bong statue, establishing a street named after him and rebuilding the house where he was born.
Asked about such proposals, Bong joked, "I hope people will talk about such things after I die."
Bong said that he will leave it to critics, journalists and fans to analyze the movie's commercial appeal, and that he'd fully focus on working on this next film.
At the same news conference, actress Lee Jeong-eun, who plays a live-in housekeeper for the wealthy family in "Parasite," said the movie portrayed universal problems such as unemployment "in a very interesting yet an in-depth manner." Han said he believes many audiences sympathized with the movie's 10 main characters, who "have their own dramas and have their own reasons to live."
Bong said he was ready for a break after a successful yet exhausting Oscars campaign. But he said prominent American director Martin Scorsese pleaded that he get back to work quickly.
"I just read his letter a few hours ago and it was an honor," Bong said. "He said I did a good job and should rest, but only a little because he and everyone else was eagerly waiting for my next film."
Bong had mentioned his admiration of Scorsese while receiving the directing Oscar, inspiring an impromptu standing ovation from the crowd.
Bong said he was discussing with HBO making a TV adaptation of "Parasite," with American director and screenwriter Adam McKay agreeing to be a writer on the series, which could run five or six episodes.
"We have smoothly taken the first step with HBO," said Bong, while denying reports that Mark Ruffalo and Swinton have been finalized as cast members.
"The TV adaptation of 'Snowpiercer' is planned to air in May, but since we started talking about it in 2014 or 2015, it took about five years. (The TV version of) 'Parasite' might take quite a while too," he said.
Bengali actor and former MP Tapas Pal passed away early Tuesday morning at the age of 61 in a private hospital in Mumbai, his wife Nandini Pal confirmed to ieBangla. He won the 2014 general elections from the Krishnanagar Lok Sabha constituency on a Trinamool Congress (TMC) ticket, reports The Indian Express.
Born on September 29, 1958, Pal started his career at the age of 22 and gained popularity with his debut film Dadar Kirti in 1980. Later, several of his films got popular including Saheb (1981), Parabat Priya (1984), Bhalobasa Bhalobasa (1985), Anurager Choyan (1986), Amar Bandhan (1986). He was awarded the Filmfare Award for his role in Saheb.
Pal also worked in Bollywood films. He first starred in Abodh opposite Madhuri Dixit.
The actor was arrested by the CBI for alleged link to Rose Valley Chit Fund scam in December 2016 and was granted bail after 13 months.
Pal, once a baby-faced lead actor of melodramatic Bengali films, was among the earliest Tollywood stars to add shine to the Trinamool’s anti-Left campaign.
In 2014, Pal was caught on camera threatening to kill CPI(M) workers and have their women raped if any of his party workers were attacked.
Pal is survived by his wife Nandini Pal, who is a participant of Bigg Boss Bangla at present, and a daughter Sohini Pal, who is also an actor.
The redesigned "Sonic the Hedgehog" showed plenty of teeth at the box office, speeding to a $57 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday, while "Parasite" saw one of the largest post-Oscars bumps in years following its best picture win.
Paramount Pictures' "Sonic the Hedgehog" came in well above expectations, especially for a movie that just months ago was a laughing stock. After its first trailer was greeted with ridicule on social media last year, "Sonic" was postponed three months to give its title character a design overhaul — including fixing Sonic's eerily human teeth.
The makeover worked and audiences responded by making "Sonic the Hedgehog" the weekend's top film and the highest-grossing opening for a video game adaptation, not accounting for inflation. For Paramount, it's a welcome success following misfires such as "Gemini Man" and "Terminator: Dark Fate." The studio estimates "Sonic" will gross $68 million over the four-day Presidents Day holiday weekend.
"If you don't listen to your customer, and this goes for any business, then you're going to fail," said Chris Aronson, distribution chief for Paramount. "We retooled Sonic in a way that was obviously very satisfying for the fans and they were very forgiving. Now that they've seen the movie, they love the movie. It all worked out."
The Sega video game adaptation, directed by Jeff Fowler, drew decent reviews (63% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and an A CinemaScore from moviegoers. The $87 million production co-stars Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik with Ben Schwartz supplying Sonic's voice.
Bong Joon Ho's "Parasite" had its biggest weekend in its 19th week of release. Neon put "Parasite" into its widest release yet (2,001 theaters) following its historic win at the Oscars. ("Parasite" was the first non-English-language film to win best picture in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards.) And despite the film already being available for weeks on digital platforms and on DVD, its $5.5 million weekend is the largest Oscars bump for a best-picture winner since "Gladiator" in 2001.
Last week's opening of "Birds of Prey" followed up its limp debut by sliding to second with $17.1 million. Following its disappointing opening, some theaters retitled the movie "Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey," instead of "Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)."
It was a busy weekend in theaters, with a handful of other new releases — "The Photograph," "Fantasy Island," "Downhill" — seeking to capitalize on both Valentine's Day on Friday and Presidents Day on Monday.
"Fantasy Island," the Blumhouse horror remake of the '70s TV show, fared the best, collecting $12.4 million in ticket sales despite terrible reviews. Sony Pictures handled the release of the low-budget, PG-13 film, which earned just a 9% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Universal Pictures "The Photograph," a romance starring Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield and produced by Will Packer ("Girls Trip," "Ride Along"), opened with $12.2 million. The film, written and directed by Stella Meghie, cost $15 million to make.
"Downhill," from Disney's Fox Searchlight Pictures, debuted with $4.7 million, a modest start for a film starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell. A remake of the acclaimed Swedish film "Force Majeure" by Ruben Östlund, "Downhill" didn't do great with critics but fared even worse with audiences. They gave it a D CinemaScore.
Neon followed up its "Parasite" Oscar win with the Valentine's Day release of "Portrait of a Lady on Fire," one of 2019's most acclaimed films. Following a one-week qualifying run in December, Celine Sciamma's French period romance opened in 22 theaters with a strong per-theater average of about $20,000.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.
1. "Sonic the Hedgehog," $57 million ($44.3 million international).
2. "Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey," $17.1 million ($23 million international).
3. "Fantasy Island," $12.4 million ($7.6 million international).
4. "The Photograph," $12.3 million.
5. "Bad Boys for Life," $11.3 million ($11.1 million international).
6. "1917," $8.1 million ($6.4 million international).
7. "Jumanji: The Next Level," $5.7 million ($1.9 million international).
8. "Parasite," $5.5 million.
9. "Dolittle," $5.1 million ($8.8 million international).
10. "Downhill," $4.7 million.
Paramount Pictures' family film "Sonic the Hedgehog" dominated the North American box office with 57 million U.S. dollars in its debut weekend.
According to Box Office Mojo, the movie is expected to earn 68 million in domestic market and 111 million U.S. dollars globally through Monday, the Presidents' Day holiday. It has set a record for a video game adaptation.
"Sonic the Hedgehog" follows the world's fastest hedgehog teaming up with his new best friend Tom Wachowski to defend the planet from the evil Dr. Robotnik.
Opening at 4,167 theaters, the film received an A CinemaScore from audiences and generated a 63 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
A number of movies opened alongside "Sonic the Hedgehog" this weekend, including Universal's romance drama "The Photograph," Sony's thriller "Fantasy Island" and Searchlight Pictures' remake "Downhill."
Brad Pitt, tux still on but tie gone and best supporting actor Academy Award stowed away somewhere, stepped out of a car with a few friends at the quiet back entrance to Vanity Fair's annual post-Oscars party.
"Do you want to go to the red carpet?" an attendant asked.
"Nah," Pitt said. "Let's go right in."
He'd had enough of red carpets, cameras and questions after a long awards season that culminated in a very long Oscars on Sunday and a victory in the best supporting actor category for his role in "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood." It was time to party.
"Go right in" could practically be the motto of the kick-off-your-shoes, kick-up-your-heels Vanity Fair party, which serves as the de facto end-of-season celebration.
Pitt and his crew slid in through an unmarked entrance near the men's room, joining the party where uniformed employees handed out In-N-Out burgers overflowing from boxes as nominees and presenters in fitted gowns and tight tuxes let loose.
Eighteen-year-old Billie Eilish and her brother-producer-pianist Finneas walked arm-in-arm into the same side of the soiree minutes later. The duo was soon hanging out on a remote couch with 24-year-old Timothée Chalamet in a cool-kids corner of the party whose celebrities, like Pitt, are often decades older.
The champagne-soaked affair, which begins as a viewing party for 100 people and grows into the night's most sought-after invitation, is thrown in a space that connects the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts with Beverly Hills City Hall and is hosted by Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones.
On a night when the class-conscious "Parasite" was the big winner, the event was as always overloaded with the 1%, but the fare also always leans lowbrow, with boxes of fried chicken, pickles and cornbread, buckwheat corn dogs and milkshakes in the mix along with the signature In-N-Out.
Earlier in the evening as the ceremony ended, some 1,500 people filtered into the Governors Ball — the official Oscars after-party — to grab a bite of the Wolfgang Puck fare and a drink before heading off to other celebrations. Held just a few escalator rides up from the Dolby Theatre, it's a place where attendees can relax a bit and winners can get their Oscars engraved.
Presenter Mahershala Ali mingled with admirers near the entrance, while best actor nominee Adam Driver found a small table off in a corner to share a drink and some bites with his wife, Joanne Tucker, and a few friends.
"Little Women" director Greta Gerwig, accompanied by her parents, said she was "crying all night." They were tears of joy, mind you.
"It was the most amazing night," she said, mentioning how proud she was of "Little Women" costume designer Jacqueline Durran and Laura Dern, who was in Gerwig's film, but won best supporting actress for her performance in Gerwig's fiance's movie, "Marriage Story."
Elsewhere, supporting actress nominee Florence Pugh had had enough with her high heels and walked toward the exit, carrying her teal satin shoes along with her purse. Earlier, she shared some kind words with fellow Brit and "1917" star George MacKay. Pugh, who was nominated for "Little Women," said the evening was "amazing" and "dripping with glamour."
Pugh wasn't the only one making an early exit. Best actor winner Joaquin Phoenix sped toward the door, engraved Oscar in hand, with more than a few people following him hoping to get a word in. Rooney Mara kept things moving though, grabbing her fiance by the hand and making sure their friends were close behind.
At a viewing party hosted by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the crowd gave a standing ovation after the singer won the best original song Oscar, "I'm Going to Love Me Again" from "Rocketman."
John arrived at his party around the time the Oscars were ending. He joined British singer Sam Fender for a performance of Fender's song "Will We Talk?" The evening raised more than $6.4 million for the global fight against AIDS.
At the Vanity Fair party, as the night wore on and the main room grew crowded, the patio increasingly became the place to be. There, Spike Lee and "Harriet" star Cynthia Erivo, a best actress nominee, posed together for a picture. Gal Gadot and Salma Hayek smoked cigarettes together at a table — smoking abounds on the patio even in an era where it's increasingly rare everywhere else — and laughed with passing visitors.
The party also had its share of instant celebrities whose Oscars in more technical categories win them invitations and the congratulations of scores of partygoers.
Makeup artist Kazu Hiro and hairstylist Anne Morgan stood with their newly engraved statuettes at a table on the patio and drew crowds like household names.
As things began to wind down close to 1 a.m., sausage and egg sandwiches, vegan doughnut holes and iced coffee in to-go containers were up for grabs at the car service and valet pavilion.
Taika Waititi, who a year earlier spent most of the party dancing and this year gleefully accepted congratulations for his best adapted screenplay win, said goodbye to Keegan-Michael Key and Jeremy Renner and jumped in an SUV with a group of friends.
A nearby valet repeatedly yelled "Bong! Bong! Your car's going to leave!" making everyone look around for "Parasite" director Bong Joon Ho whose film had won four Oscars including best picture, making him the night's unlikely biggest star. He was nowhere in sight.
A group of fans just outside the barricades asked all who passed, "Is Billie Eilish still inside?"