'Dongmakgol,' 'Mafia' Top Chusok Weekend

By Bae Keun-min
Staff Reporter

"Welcome to Dongmakgol", a film on Korean War soldiers from different sides finding refuge in a mountain village, hit the 7-million viewer mark over the Chusok holiday, becoming the fourth movie to break the number in South Korean movie history.

According to film distributor Show Box, the movie, so far, attracted 2.18 million viewers in Seoul to mark 7.1-million viewers in local total. The Korean Film Council last week decided to put the film forward for nomination for next year's Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in the United States.

Showing on 220 screens nationwide, the film came in second with 175,975 viewers over the Chusok weekend, following comic action "Marrying the Mafia II", which attracted 648,488 moviegoers from Friday to Sunday.

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", the Hollywood fantasy film by director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp and based on a famous children's book, ranked third with 173,679 viewers. The film was followed by "Duelist" by director Lee Myung-se with 110,626 film lovers.

Around 84,300 people went to see actor Russell Crowe's "Cinderella Man", while martial arts star Jet Lee's "The Dog" placed sixth with 81,136 viewers. "You are my Sunshine" came in seventh.

"April Snow" by director Heo Jin-ho attracted a disappointing 68,000 moviegoers over the three-day period.

But while the film is receiving a poor response domestically, it is enjoying favorable results in Japan, earning an estimated 350 million yen (3.26 billion won) in the first two days of its opening, according to Nikkan Sports as quoted by Yonhap News Agency. On its opening day last Saturday, some 150,000 people visited cinemas to see "April Snow", which stars actor Bae Yong-joon, a massively popular actor in Japan.

UPI Japan said the new film of actor Bae, who has earned the nickname "Yonsama" from Japanese fans, is forecast to make some 3 billion yen (28 billion won) there, the largest among South Korean films screened in Japan.

"Windstruck" (2004), starring actress Jun Ji-hyun and actor Jang Hyuk, made over 1.8 billion yen (16.7 billion won) to become the most successful South Korean film at the box office there. The film opened last December.

Besides "Dongmakgol", three films have gone over the 7-million-viewer mark. They are "Taegukgi" (2004) with 11.7 million, "Silmido" (2004) with 11 million and Friend (2001) with 8.18 million.