LOS ANGELES – After back to back years of opening night duds “To Rome with Love” and “I'm So Excited,” the Los Angeles Film Festival kicked off its 2014 campaign with a real winner, Joon-ho Bong's “Snowpiercer.” Stars Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, Allison Pill, Kang-ho Song, and Ah-sung Ko were on hand as Bong's critically acclaimed post-apocalyptic thriller finally hit U.S. shores. Chris Evans, who is essentially the film's lead, sent a video message from London where he's shooting “Avengers: Age of Ultron” proclaiming how happy he was over the LA premiere.
Like co-star Swinton, Evans has been publicly passionate over his love for “Snowpiercer.” He actually mentioned his genuine excitement over a long awaited resolution regarding the movie's American release during our interview for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” in March. Bong's follow up to his 2009 drama “Mother” was actually released in his native South Korea last August. In fact, “Snowpiercer” has already opened in over 16 major international territories including China, France, Japan, Spain, Germany and Italy (this pundit first caught it while on vacation in Greece in early May). And, with $80 million global already in the bank, there is little pressure on Radius TWC to deliver a monster return stateside.
Why the 10 month delay? The film was originally set to be released by The Weinstein Company proper, but Bong and Harvey Weinstein got into a dispute over the cut and whether it should receive a wide release or not. A compromise was met in February which found Radius handling a platform campaign. Considering Evans just top lined the second highest grossing movie of the year (so far), you'd think Weinstein would want to take their chances on a thriller that has a ton of action and familiar faces (Octavia Spender and Jamie Bell also have major roles). That being said, it's hard to argue that Bong's thriller isn't unconventional and a tough sell as a date movie.
As for LA Film Fest's opening night, it was slightly less star-friendly than in the past. John Cho and Catherine Hardwicke were on hand and Swinton sat in the audience for the entire film, but that was about it. Other notable movies either premiering or screening at the festival this year include “Earth to Echo,” “Jersey Boys,” “Dear White People,” “Love is Strange” and “The Two Faces of January.”
The 2014 LA Film Fest runs until June 19 at LA Live.