Well all I can say is it’s about goddamned time. For those of us who have been waiting since the end of 2012 for this announcement, Bong Joon-ho’s post-apocalyptic thriller Snowpiercer has a release date. After a protracted battle with the Weinstein Company over crippling edits, the movie—the director’s version of the movie—will be released on June 27.
You might notice that this date puts Snowpiercer in direct competition with Transformers: Age of Extinction. Sort of. Bong’s movie is getting a limited release, so only some cities are going to get it that day, and we all know that nothing is going to derail the latest installment of giant robots fighting giant robots. But I like to think of it as a head to head, winner take all, battle royale.
Snowpiercer finished filming in December of 2012, and began opening to rave reviews and big box office takes around the world late last summer. In August, when the film hit theaters in Bong’s native Korea, it broke records, topping 9 million tickets sold. Critics who saw the film praised it, with a couple even naming it their top movie of the year for 2013. It continued to open in various other markets with similarly positive results and acclaim.
While this was going on, Bong and TWC were going back and forth over edits in the US. Harvey Weinstein demanded more than 20 minutes of cut that would have gutted the story and character development, leaving mostly the action, because he said that American audiences are to stupid to understand the movie otherwise. It was a long, tedious affair, one where Bong began as diplomatic, saying that discussions were ongoing, and stuff like that. As time went on things got more and more heated, until the filmmaker was straight up pissed off. But all that is behind us, and we can mark this date on our calendars. Again, assuming you live in a city where this is possible.
Based on a French graphic novel, Snowpiercer is set in a world where attempts to reverse global warming kick off a new ice age. The only survivors live on a train powered by a perpetual motion machine, endlessly circling the frozen wastes. Inside a rigid caste system develops, pitting the rich, well-fed residents of the front of the train against the poor, huddled masses of the back. As you can imagine, given time and proximity, this resentment boils over into full-blown rebellion.
The all-star international cast includes Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Song Kang-ho, Ko A-sung, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, and Octavia Spencer. So far there is no word on a release for the UK or other English-speaking territories, but well keep you updated on the situation as we learn more.