Snowpiercer the movie finally gets a UK release
James R | On 23, Oct 2018
Update (8th February 2020): Snowpiercer is now included with Amazon Prime. It is also screening at London’s Prince Charles Cinema from 21st February to 28th February.
Snowpiercer the movie has finally been released in the UK.
Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 dystopian sci-fi, starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt and Octavia Spencer, is a veritable modern classic. Set years after the world has become a frozen wasteland, due a failed attempt to reverse global warming, it centres on the remnants of humanity, who inhabit a gigantic, perpetually-moving train that circles the globe. With its questions of class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival, it’s only become more relevant as time has gone on – and, with Brexit negotiations continuing at the time of writing, 2018 is arguably the perfect time to release the movie.
The Korean director’s first English-language film cost $42 million to made – one of the most expensive projects in Korea’s history – and did screen in the UK at the 2014 Edinburgh International Film Festival, but was never released properly on British soil. The movie has since become one of the select group of highly sought-after movies unavailable to UK viewers legally, leading to many importing copies on DVD and Blu-ray from other countries. Now, though, Snowpiercer is finally available to watch legally online – and, unlike some of those disc imports, it does include subtitles for the character played by Song Kang-ho (The Host).
The release arrives as VOD provides a growing outlet for films that distributors have proven unwilling to take a gamble on: Annihilation, earlier this year, was notably released in the UK by Netflix, following a deal between the streaming giant and cautious studio Paramount. Netflix, meanwhile, has teamed up with Bong Joon-ho to back and release Okja worldwide, premiering the creature feature at Cannes in 2017.
Netflix has also snapped up the rights to a new TV series based on Snowpiercer. The controversial project has seen its showrunner Josh Friedman depart due to creative differences with TNT, alongside director Scott Derrickson, with Orphan Black creator Graeme Manson stepping on board instead. The series, which stars Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs, does not yet have a release date.
The TV show’s difficulties only mirror the movie’s own problems, after Harvey Weinstein ordered 20 minutes to be cut from the film, but Bong Joon-ho refused. With The Weinstein Company now dead, as Weinstein faces charges of multiple allegations of sexual assault, its assets have been taken over by a private equity firm, Lantern Capital. Rights and other obligations for titles such as the Scream TV series and Peaky Blinders have since been the subject of much legal wrangling. In the middle of it all, there is some positive news that Bong Joon-ho’s movie is, at last, easily and legally accessible to UK audiences. It is now available to buy and rent in HD on iTunes and on Amazon Prime Video and BFI Player. It is also included with Amazon Prime – and, if you don’t mind adverts, will screen again on Film4 at 9pm on Monday 10th February 2020.
Watch this space for more information and updates on other UK VOD platforms, or read our review here. In the meantime, here’s a trailer:
Snowpiercer is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.
Where can I buy or rent Snowpiercer online in the UK?
With thanks to the eagle eyes of our writer, Ian Loring, whose podcast Film Basterds is available here.