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‘Silmido’ makes box office history

Feb 19,2004
About one out of every five Koreans has seen the domestic action film “Silmido” since it opened on Christmas Eve. As of noon yesterday, more than 10 million tickets for the movie had been sold, setting a record, said Cinema Service, the movie’s distributor.
Before “Silmido” opened, reaching the 10-million-viewer level was only a dream in the local film industry, since Korea’s population is less than 50 million. Previously, the most commercially successful Korean film was “Chingu” (Friends), released in 2001, for which 7 million tickets have been sold.
Based on a true story from the late 1960s, “Silmido” recounts the tragic saga of a special combat squad trained to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Il Sung. Silmido is the name of the island in the Yellow Sea where the squad underwent secret training.
The hit’s director and producer, Kang Woo-suk, is noted for having a Midas touch that makes movies sell. Since his debut as a filmmaker in 1988, Mr. Kang has not always been acclaimed by critics, but he has been unquestionably well-received by moviegoers. His latest production brings history to life in an intense, masculine and dramatic epic.
With “Silmido” celebrating its new domestic box-office record, another local hit that is luring filmgoers may be the next blockbuster to break it.
“Taegukgi,” the story of two star-crossed brothers suffering during the Korean War, premiered on Feb. 5 and has sold 5 million tickets in only 13 days, six days less than it took to sell the same number of tickets for “Silmido.”
Showbox, the distributor, expects the movie to reach the 10-million-viewer mark in only a few weeks.


by Chun Su-jin


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