Film on South Korea's 1597 naval victory against Japan breaks Korean records

Myeongryang, which means Roaring Currents, attracted 13.62 million viewers as of Saturday after 18 days of screening, said distributor CJ Entertainment. -- PHOTO: CJ ENTERTAINMENT
Myeongryang, which means Roaring Currents, attracted 13.62 million viewers as of Saturday after 18 days of screening, said distributor CJ Entertainment. -- PHOTO: CJ ENTERTAINMENT

SEOUL (AFP) - A film depicting South Korea's 16th century naval victory against Japanese invaders has set records at the South Korean box office, drawing the largest audience and becoming the first local movie to take more than US$100 million (S$125 million).

"Myeongryang", which means "Roaring Currents", attracted 13.62 million viewers as of Saturday after 18 days of screening, said distributor CJ Entertainment.

The previous frontrunner, Hollywood blockbuster "Avatar", drew 13.61 million Korean cinema goers over a span of four months.

As of Friday, the movie had earned 102.4 billion won (S$125 million) in ticket sales, becoming the first homemade film to top 100 billion won in revenue.

Starring Choi Min Sik as Chosun Dynasty Admiral Yi Sun Shin, the film depicts Yi's decisive 1597 naval victory against Japan in the Battle of Myeongryang. Yi, who had 12 ships under his command, defeated more than 130 Japanese warships.

Choi also starred in a 2003 hit thriller "Old Boy".

Relations between South Korea and Japan are currently at their lowest ebb for years over disputes related to Tokyo's 1910-45 rule over the Korean peninsula.

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