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Film "Welcome to Dongmakgol" Attracts 5.5 Million Viewers

2005/08/31 Source

On August 27, the film "Welcome to Dongmakgol" (directed by Bae Jong) broke the box office record set by the film "Marathon", this year's previous top film in terms of number of viewers.

"Marathon" attracted a total of 5.18 million viewers. "Welcome to Dongmakgol" set a new record on August 27 by surpassing 5.5 million viewers. In the overall rankings of box-office hit films, "Welcome to Dongmakgol" (5.5 million viewers) is ranked sixth after "Taegukgi: Brotherhood of War" (11.74 million viewers), "Silmido" (11.08 million viewers), Friend (8.18 million viewers), "Shiri" (6.21 million viewers), and "JSA" (5.83 million viewers).

The record set by "Welcome to Dongmakgol" was achieved just four weeks after its release on August 4. This film's record-setting pace is more than double that of "Marathon", which passed the 5 million mark eight weeks after its release.

"Welcome to Dongmakgol" is director Bae Jong's debut film. It cheerfully depicts an ironic situation during the Korean War where soldiers from South and North Korea and an American GI confront each other and eventually become friends in an isolated mountainous village called "Dongmakgol", whose residents are entirely ignorant of the war.

The film turns the tragedy of national division into a story of fantasy and humanism. It has won critical acclaim for an involving storyline based on a script originally written for the stage, its director's dramatic interpretation, and the actors' unassuming acting. The distribution agency launched a very aggressive marketing campaign through large-scale preview programs, which invited a total of about 200,000 people, and by releasing the film to some 460 cinemas nationwide simultaneously.

Critics attribute the film's success to its portrayal of the national division of Korea. According to these critics, "Welcome to Dongmakgol" is carrying on the tradition set by previous box-office hit films that also deal with the wounds and scars from national division and the Korean war, such as "Taegukgi", "Shiri" and " JSA - Joint Security Area".

Even after jumping to the top place as the most successful box-office film this year, "Welcome to Dongmakgol" has still been attracting a consistent wave of viewers to the cinemas. If this trend continues until after the Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) holidays, "Welcome to Dongmakgol" will likely break the records set by previous hit films, according to hopeful insiders from film production and distribution companies.

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