SEOUL, July 27 (Yonhap) — “The Battleship Island,” a South Korean World War II blockbuster film, set a new opening day record at the Korean box office, attracting more than 970,000 moviegoers, data showed Thursday.
The action drama movie starring Song Joong-ki, So Ji-sub and Hwang Jung-min was seen by 970,352 on Wednesday, according to the computerized tally from the Korean Film Council. The film accounted for 71.4 percent of all ticket sales.
Factoring in special pre-release screenings, the film has accumulated a combined 991,811 viewers.
“The Mummy,” a Hollywood film starring Tom Cruise, was the previous record holder for the biggest opening day performance in South Korea, drawing in 872,965 moviegoers on its premiere day. “Roaring Currents,” the biggest-grossing film in the country to date, was watched by 682,701 viewers on its release day.
The huge opening day performance was attributed to the massive number of screens dedicated to the movie. The film was shown on 2,027 screens, or 37.1 percent of total movie theater screens in the country. It was more than the previous record high of 1,991 screens allotted for “Captain America: Civil War” last year.
“The Battleship Island” is one of the more expensive South Korean films ever made. Against a budget of 25 billion won (US$22.3 million), the movie has to sell more than 7 million tickets to break even.
On social media, film industry insiders have voiced their concerns of a single film hogging up movie screens, especially in light of the movie’s investor, CJ E&M, using its movie distribution arm CJ CGV to promote the film.
“Let alone monopoly, this is madness. We don’t even expect a symbiosis but at least you should have the slightest feeling of conscience,” said filmmaker Min Byung-hoon in a social media post aimed at CJ E&M.
The movie has attracted huge attention since it was first announced for its inspiration from the atrocities and ordeals faced by hundreds of forced Korean coal miners and sex slaves on Japan’s Hashima Island, nicknamed Battleship Island after its resemblance to a warship, during World War II.