Taxi Driver dislodges Battleship Island from top of Korean box office

Taxi Driver took the No. 1 spot on its opening day on August 2, selling 698,090 tickets and earning US$4.53 million.

Picture for representation
Song Kang-ho in 'A Taxi Driver' (KOFIC/Showbox)

A movie about a 1980 uprising dislodged the blockbuster film "The Battleship Island" from the top of the Korean box office.

"A Taxi Driver" took the No. 1 spot on its opening day on August 2, selling 698,090 tickets and earning US$4.53 million, according to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC). Its revenue share for the day was 53.36 percent compared to "The Battleship Island" which had 19.04 percent.

The film stars Korean actor Song Kang-ho and German actor Thomas Kretschmann about the Gwangju Uprising which happened in Gwangju, South Korea from May 18 to 27, 1980.

In the movie, Song Kang-ho plays taxi driver Kim Man-seob who takes Peter, a German journalist, from Seoul to Gwangju. Peter's character is based on the life of journalist Jürgen Hinzpeter who covered the Gwangju Uprising. It also stars Korean actors Yoo Hae-jin and Ryu Jun-yeol.

According to Yonhap News, "A Taxi Driver" breached the one million audience mark at 11:45 AM Korea time on Aug. 3.

The Gwangju Uprising was about street protests by Koreans against the government in 1980 that resulted in the death of 200 people.

Despite being No. 2, "The Battleship Island" has emerged as one of the top films this year in Korea.

The film, starring Song Joong-ki, So Ji-sub and Hwang Jung-min, has already earned US$35 million and reached 5 million in total admission on Aug. 2. It depicts Koreans who were forced by Japan to work in labor camps in Hashima Island during World War II when South Korea was under Japanese rule.

According to KOFIC and distributor Showbox, "A Taxi Driver" will premiere in North America on Aug. 11 and then in Australia and New Zealand on Aug. 24. This will be followed by screenings in Asia in September.

The film garnered interest when it was screened at the Cannes Film Market last May.