• A South Korean war movie has knocked the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar in the countries box office. (AAP)
A film about a famous 16th century naval victory over the Japanese has struck a chord with South Koreans, earning more than Hollywood blockbuster Avatar.
16 Aug 2014 - 4:47 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2015 - 10:29 AM

A film depicting a famous 16th century naval victory against Japanese invaders has set records at the South Korean box office, knocking Avatar off the top spot and becoming the first local movie to take more than 100 billion won ($A108.20 million).

Myeongryang (Roaring Currents) attracted 13.62 million viewers as of Saturday after 18 days of screening, according to distributor CJ Entertainment.

Hollywood blockbuster Avatar previously drew 13.61 million Korean cinemagoers over a span of four months.

As of Friday, the movie had earned 102.4 billion won ($A108.41 million) in ticket sales, becoming the first homemade film to top 100 billion won in revenue.

Starring Choi Min-Sik as Chosun Dynasty Admiral Yi Sun-Shin, the film depicts Yi's decisive 1597 naval victory against Japan in the Battle of Myeongryang.

Yi, who had 12 ships under his command, defeated more than 130 Japanese warships.

Choi also starred in a 2003 hit thriller Oldboy.

Relations between South Korea and Japan are currently at their lowest ebb for years over disputes related to Tokyo's 1910-45 rule over the Korean peninsula.