", directed by Shim Hyung-rae
, has recorded a 2.2 million-ticket sale as of Saturday. The SF film features a legendary Korean monstrous creature, and contains a huge volume of computer graphic works. It has also set a new record. No Korean movie has attracted more than 2 million moviegoers in four days. Its distributor, Showbox, estimates that it would sell more than three million tickets as of August 5.
The rising ticket sales of "D-War
" match the sales pace of the biggest-ever box office hit "The Host"
. Another Korean movie, "May 18"
now on screen, sold more than three million tickets in 10 days. But it's not a match. Jumping on the wagon, almost 160 more movie theaters have begun to show "D-War
". Originally, 530 theaters agreed to show the film.
Critics, as usual, gave bad reviews to the movie. But the film is selling just "off the shelf". Its awful CG effects and G-rating has fueled its commercial success. The highlight comes in the scene where the monster fights with the national guards in downtown L. A., and ascends to the afterlife.
Extraneous factors have also driven its success. Director Shim's personal success story has moved many viewers. In addition, the national pride of Koreans leads Korean viewers to theater. They wish a movie created by a fellow Korean to win over Hollywood blockbusters. Lots of Koreans have posted comments on the web, urging other Koreans to watch it. Showbox director Kim Tae-seong confirms, "I have never seen emotional factors play such a huge role".
Pride against Hollywood-
Director Shim promised to play it in the United States to begin with. Showbox tried to open it at American theaters first. But it changed its strategy and will play it in the Untied States starting September. It has recruited 1,500 theaters. No other Korean film can match "D-War
" in terms of the theater size.
"Many Koreans hope "D-War
" becomes a big hit in the U.S. They thus think they should chip in. They have never seen a Korean SF film make inroads into America. They are hoping one makes it this time", explains Kim. A Korean popular folk song "Arirang" is played near the end, which reportedly moved many Korean moviegoers.
Applause for director Shim-
Koreans have begun to perceive Director Shim differently. When his first film Yonggary ended up in failure, some people deemed him to be some sort of con artist. Now, people applaud him for his persistence and are sharing his hardship and joy together. Appearing on TV talk shows, he has persuaded and fostered the sympathy. All ages of Koreans now give him a "standing ovation" on sight. No one thinks of him as a slapstick comedian any more.
Critics' harsh words backfired on them, and helped Shim win even more viewers. Park Do-seong, who opened a cyber-community on naver.com, confirms, "Shim started with good intentions. I hate to see and read people criticizing him. That's why I opened the community". Konkuk psychiatrics professor Hah Ji-hyeon explains, "People tend to maintain a 'middle-of-the-road' approach. When critics attacked Shim, the public revolted and gathered around to support Shim".
" supporters have waged cyber-attacks on critics' homepages. A war over "D-War
" is being waged between those who love the film and those who hate it. The pro-"D-War
" Koreans even paralyzed the blog of Director Lee Song-hee-il
, who severely disparaged the film.
Movie critic Kim Bong-seok urges, ""D-War
" may lack artfulness. This film, however, definitely gives us lots of fun. The fierce arguments do not help us. We need to care more about Korean movies".