Historical film depicting 1979 military coup garners more than 12 mln viewers in less than 2 months

By Park Sae-jin Posted : January 2, 2024, 10:31 Updated : January 2, 2024, 10:55

SEOUL -- "12:12 The Day," a historical film directed by Kim Sung-su, has garnered more than 12 million moviegoers in less than two months of release. Normally, any film that attracts more than 10 million people in South Korea with a population of about 5.2 million is considered a successful work.

The military coup took place on December 12, 1979, after the assassination of President Park Chung-hee. Major General Chun Doo-hwan, who led the coup, took control of the government and declared martial law. The military coup in 1979 and the subsequent political incidents led to a period of military rule and significant societal and political changes.

The film, 12.12: The Day, depicts events that happened just before and during the coup and the people engaged in it. Veteran actor Hwang Jung-min played Chun Doo-kwang, a Major General who orchestrated the coup. In the movie, Hwang was rivaled by actor Jung Woo-sung, who played Lee Tae-sin, the commander of the Capital Defense Command (formerly known as the Capital Garrison Command). The characters' names in the film were differentiated from their real-life role models. For example, Chun Doo-hwan's name was changed to Chun Doo-kwang, and Jang Tae-wan was changed to Lee Tae-sin.

According to the Korean Film Council, 12:12 The Day, released on November 22, 2023, accumulated domestic sales of 12,117,181 tickets as of January 1, 2024. Among the most successful Korean films, the historical film is now ranked the No. 15. The most successful domestic film was the 2014 historical film "The Admiral: Roaring Currents," directed by Kim Han-jin, which attracted more than 17.6 million people to theaters.

The Admiral: Roaring Currents depicts the story of 16th-century Joseon Dynasty naval commander, Admiral Yi Sun-sin, who scored a dramatic victory against Japan. "Noryang: Deadly Sea," the third part of the Admiral Yi trilogy by director Kim Han-jin, is currently competing with 12:12 The Day at the South Korean box office. The film released on December 20, 2023, has sold more than 3.7 million tickets as of January 1, 2024.
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