KOREA - "The Attorney," a local film inspired by the early years of late President Roh Moo-hyun, drew more than 9 million viewers in the 25 days after its release, its distributor NEW announced. It has topped the local box office chart for four consecutive weeks, and is expected to break the 10 million viewer mark this weekend.
According to the Korean Film Council, the directorial debut by webtoon artist Yang Woo-seok was watched by 9.26 million people as of Sunday, far outnumbering "The Suspect" and "Tarzan 3-D," which marked 3.72 million and 345,000, respectively. "The Attorney" is estimated to pass the 10 million viewer milestone by the end of this week to become the first Korean film to do so this year.
The film, which premiered on Dec. 18, stars Song Kang-ho as a Busan-based tax lawyer named Song Woo-seok. The character ends up defending a group of young students who were wrongly accused of being communist sympathizers due to their possession of "politically unsound" literature and then tortured by interrogators under the authoritarian Chun Doo-hwan regime.
The court case in the film is based on the actual "Burim case" handled by Roh when he was a lawyer in Busan in the 1980s. Roh reportedly switched his practice specialty from tax law to human rights after handling the Burim case in 1981.
The film had already topped the local box office just two days after its release, and accounted for 34.6 per cent of movie reservations over its first weekend. In four days, it sold more than 1.2 million tickets. On Dec. 20 alone, it drew more than 540,000 viewers, the highest gross attendance for a single day in December.
Roh jumped off a cliff to his death in 2009, about a year after he retired from the nation's highest office, amid a probe into a corruption scandal involving his family.