Well, all the hype paid off for K-movie Battleship Island, the wartime patriotic escape from Japanese slavery movie premiered on Wednesday July 26th to the largest opening night audience in South Korean cinematic history. The movie opened with 2,027 showings with an opening night audience of 970,516, breaking the record held by Gong Yoo‘s Train to Busan last year with an opening night audience of 872,673 people. Battleship is the closest movie in South Korean theaters to hit the 1 million opening night mark but getting this close is an incredible feat so congrats to the cast of So Ji Sub, Song Joong Ki, Hwang Jung Min, Lee Jung Hyun, and little child actress Kim Soo Ah who now has the achievement under her belt of being in the top two opening night movies of all time as she was also in Train to Busan and played Gong Yoo’s daughter.
I think Battleship would have been a hit thanks to it’s patriotic underdog rises up subject matter and having three popular leading men in the cast, but it certainly didn’t hurt that the movie got increased coverage due to news of Song Joong Ki’s impending wedding to Song Hye Kyo. Whether Battleship has legs remains to be seen, PD Ryu’s last movie Veteran was a raging success and is currently the number three box office hit of all time in South Korea, but so far early critic reviews have praised the action staging while complaining of the overt jingoism and too many stock characters without enough depth or development.