The dragon rules in South Korea. D-War continues its box office dominance, according to Variety Asia Online, earning $42.3 million so far, good enough to place it at #10 in the country's all time list. For a monster movie, D-War has inspired passionate feelings. A poster in the koreanfilm.org discussion forum points to two articles: one from The Korea Herald (reprinted at HanCinema) claims filmmaker Shim Hyung-rae "appealed strongly to Koreans' patriotism and sympathy, inserting a popular Korean song, Arirang, to the emotional ending credit, where he explains how difficult it was to produce a film like D-War in a country where he had to convince many skeptics about his ambitious dream to enter Hollywood." Hmm, I wonder which American directors might want to try that one?

Another article in The Hankyoreh says that the film "is particularly gaining popularity with fans on the Internet," with fans posting "exuberant messages" in support of both director Shim and the film. Shim has spent most of his career as a TV comedian and there is speculation that he's been "bullied" by mainstream filmmakers. When independent filmmaker Lee Song-hee-il posted a negative review on his blog, supporters overwhelmed it with comments, causing him to shut it down. I found one more article at donga.com that confirmed the points in the other two stories, with the writer adding his opinion: "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." (Note: I'm not sure if "awful" is an accurate translation from the original Korean text.) As noted earlier by Monika Bartyzel, D-War will be released as Dragon Wars in the US on September 14.

Local audiences are also supporting May 18, which has now accumulated nearly $36 million in box office receipts. As I mentioned last week, it's based on the massacre in Gwangju, South Korea in 1980; films based on recent, politically-charged events, such as Silmido and Tae-Guk-Gi, have proven to be consistent draws in the country.