Yeon Sang-ho’s zombie thriller, Train to Busan, debuted at Cannes, set box office records in South Korea when it opened a few weeks back, and has garnered glowing reviews stateside. (If you’re wondering, I totally dig it and you should check it out.) All that attention has captured a great deal of interest, and a remake is already in the works.
THR reports that multiple studios, including 20th Century Fox, Canal Plus, EuropaCorp, Sony, and others are embroiled in a bidding war for the right to redo this. Who knows which studio will emerge from the bloody pile victorious, but this sounds like more of a when than if proposition.
Train to Busan is a simple premise: a father and his young daughter, along with the other passengers, are trapped on a bullet train as a zombie apocalypse swallows up the country around them. It’s really the well-drawn characters and emotional weight that elevates the film above a mere “zombies on a train” narrative.
When Train to Busan debuted in South Korea, it earned more than $34 million and accounted for 75% of the total weekend box office. That’s not bad, and a wave of positive international reviews doesn’t hurt. To date it’s collected north of $63 million just on its home turf.
I’m really curious to see how Train to Busan translates to an American landscape. The story is easy enough, and the action is a big hook, but I can’t for the life of me picture where there’s an equivalent train system in the U.S. that’s a fit for the setting. Maybe New York and the Northeast, but that’s about the only viable option. That could work. A European setting might be ideal, as bullet trains and train travel are more common sights—that would also make sense why a number of French studios are foaming at the mouth.
We’ll see how all this shakes out. Right now there’s no one attached and no other significant details. That will all fall into place when the monetary dust settles. In the mean time, find a way to watch Train to Busan.