Song Joong Ki's latest release The Battleship Island is creating record after record at the box-office. According to Korean Film Council figures, 970,516 tickets were sold on the opening day, the highest event by any movie in the history of Korean cinemas. The film was released in more than 2000 screens across the country.
The film narrates the fictional story a group of about 400 Joseon workers who risk their lives to escape from their forced labour camp in Hashima. Set during the Japanese occupation era, the film also stars Hwang Jung-min, So Ji-sub, and Lee Jung-hyun in key roles with director Ryoo Seung Wan calling the shots. Made with a budget of US$ 21 million, the film is bankrolled by filmmaker R & K and distributed by CJ Entertainment.
Well, the heated box-office has also paved the way to a slew of controversies. After being accused of theatre monopoly, the latest charge against the team is 'history distortion.' After its release, netizens are complaining of difference in the way the warship scenes are depicted in the film. There are claims that the story of comfort women and forced mobilisation by the Japanese army are portrayed in a diplomatic way.
On the other hand, the Japanese media has accused director Ryoo of creating fictional characters according to his convenience. However, director Ryoo thrashed the claim and clarified that Japan is not yet ready to accept its dark history and the war crimes it committed.
Meanwhile, South Korea's Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck defended that the film is inspired based on historical facts. He also clarified that it would be inappropriate for the government to make any comments on the film but requested his Japanese counterpart to implement their 2015 promise to acknowledge and commemorate the forced labour on the island.
Whatever the controversy might be, looks like The Battleship Island is here to stay for a long period. The film is running to packed houses across the cities.