Song Joong-ki pained by criticisms, failure of 'The Battleship Island'

"The Battleship Island" opened last July 26 and it topped the daily and weekend box offices in Korea.

'The Battleship Island'
Song Joong-ki in 'The Battleship Island' (KOFIC/CJ Entertainment) KOFIC/CJ Entertainment

Hallyu star Song Joong-ki said he felt pain and stress when his movie "The Battleship Island" was severely criticized for its depiction of Koreans.

"The Battleship Island" opened last July 26 and it topped the daily and weekend box offices in Korea. The film is about Koreans who were forced into slave camps by Japanese in Hashima Island in Japan during World War II.

However, it faced criticisms of theater monopoly when it was shown on 2,000 screens, the first time for a film in Korea.

More importantly, Koreans lashed out at the movie saying it depicted Korean characters as evil compared to the Japanese characters.

Song Joong-ki explained his side on the controversy.

"I did feel distressed at the film's box-office failure and criticism of the film. But I thought at that time, I need to reflect more objectively. I have regrets that if I had done better, I could have conveyed the message of the film to more of the audience," he told Marie Claire Korea for the magazine's special issue about the Busan International Film Festival.

The film was budgeted for 25 billion won (about $22.42 million) and it needed to sell 7 million tickets to break even.

Actor So Ji-sub, who also stars in the movie, said back in July that he hoped that it would sell 10 million tickets.

"I hope the combined audience surpasses 10 million. It has to break even in order to produce similar movies in the future. I hope those who have worked hard on the movie can be compensated," he told Yonhap News.

However, it didn't happen as expected.

"The Battleship Island" sold 6.58 million tickets and grossed US$44.67 million at the box office. Still, the movie is the No. 4 best selling film in Korea this year as of September 19 behind "A Taxi Driver," "Confidential Assignment" and "Spider-Man: Homecoming."

"I'm sure that all the time I've spent with senior actors filming for 'The Battleship Island' was a time of growth. I hope to expand my filmography without regrets and I wish to experience the filming set from different cultures," Song Joong-ki said.

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