Channel NewsAsia

Film on 1597 victory against Japan breaks Korean records

A film depicting a famous 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.

SEOUL: A film depicting a famous 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.

"Myeongryang" ("Roaring Currents") attracted 13.62 million viewers as of Saturday after 18 days of screening, 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 (US$100.2 million) in ticket sales, becoming the first homemade film to top 100 billion won (or US$100 million) 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.