By Pierce Conran
Just shy of midnight on Friday, August 15th, period blockbuster Roaring Currents surpassed Avatar (2009) to become the all time most successful film at the Korean box office. The film reached 13.31 million admissions in only 17 days and after adding 742,576 viewers on the 15th, Liberation Day in Korea, it seems poised to go much further before all is said and done.
Directed by Kim Han-min and starring Choi Min-sik and Ryoo Seung-ryong, the tale of Admiral Lee Sun-shin broke the 5-year old record of James Cameroon's global hit Avatar, which reached 13.3 million spectators. Roaring Currents is now the most successful Korean film of all time, having broken the record set by The Host in 2006 (13.02 million admissions). It is also the first Korean film to cross both the 100 billion Korean won and $100 million mark. The blockbuster still trails Avatar's 124.9 billion won ($122.33 million) revenue total, which was bolstered by 3D ticket sales.
Opening on July 30th, Roaring Currents has smashed almost every possible record, including best opening day (682,726 viewers), biggest opening weekend (3.35 million) and largest single day (1.25 million viewers).
During a difficult year for Korea, following the Sewol Ferry Disaster, local citizens seemed eager to flock to a blockbuster chronicling one of Korea's proudest historical moments. Meanwhile, competing period blockbuster The Pirates has seen its take rise after debuting in second place. To date, the swashbuckler has brought in 3.35 million viewers in 10 days. Debuting at number three on Wednesday was the Bong Joon Ho-produced Haemoo. In three days the film has accrued a disappointing 573,284 admissions. Combined, the three Korean films have accounted for over 85% of business since Wednesday, giving the local industry a massive advantage in the marketplace.
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