By Shim Sun-ah
SEOUL, July 31 (Yonhap) — “The Battleship Island,” one of the most highly anticipated films of the year, debuted at No. 1 on the weekend box office chart in South Korea, surpassing 4 million in the accumulated number of views, data showed Monday.
The historical action flick directed by Ryoo Seung-wan claimed the top spot by attracting 2.5 million people to 2,019 theaters across the country over the July 28-30 weekend, according to figures from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).
The movie surpassed the 4 million audience mark Sunday, the fifth day of run, becoming the fastest film to hit the mark this year. The pace is the same as “Roaring Currents” (2013), the most-viewed film of all time in South Korea.
Starring Song Joong-ki, So Ji-sub and Hwang Jung-min, “The Battleship Island” is based on 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.
Many South Koreans still harbor deep resentment against Japan for its harsh colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, when many young Korean women were forced to serve as sexual slaves for Japanese soldiers. Several million Koreans were forcibly taken to Japan as laborers during the period.
The animated Hollywood film “Despicable Me 3” landed at No. 2, adding 852,864 tickets to its domestic total of 1.22 million.
“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan’s World War II film, took third place, collecting 366,256 moviegoers. It passed the 2 million threshold Saturday, the sixth day since its release, with its accumulated number of viewers reaching 2.18 million.
Coming in fourth was “Spider-Man: Homecoming” with 100,213, followed by “Crayon Shinchan 2017 Theatrical Film: Invasion! Alien Shiriri,” a film adaptation of the animated Japanese TV series “Crayon Shinchan.” It sold 48,090 tickets.