Korea and Japan came out of rainy three-day weekends with nationalistic blockbusters Hanbando and Sinking Of Japan topping their respective box office charts.

As political tensionsbetween Japan and the rest of Asia heighten in the real world, Kang Woo-suk's action fantasy Hanbando tells the story of Japaneseinterference in North and South Korean affairs.

Meanwhile, Shinji Higuchi'ssci-fi epic Sinking Of Japan is anadaptation of the 1973 novel in which an earthquake throws the Japanesearchipelago into chaos.

In Korea, where the public holiday of Constitution Day fellon Monday (July 17), Hanbando rackedup 1.6 million admissions despite the rain.

Local critics had widely pannedthe film for its unabashed didactic nationalism. However distributor CJ Entertainmenthad put its back into promoting the film, and gave it a wide release on 500screens, similar to the push it gave to the equally expensive Typhoon at the end of last year.

Topping the charts, Hanbando has managed to break throughthe 11-week dominance of Hollywood filmsat the Korean box office, which started with a slew of heavy-hitters such as The Da Vinci Code and Mission: Impossible 3 in May and isstill going strong with Pirates Of TheCaribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

In Japan, the rainy three-day weekend spanned the nationalholiday of Ocean Day, and Sinking OfJapan opened at the top of the chart with $7.7m (Y910m). Released on 316screens, the film drew in families as well as middle-aged and elderly audienceswith its controversial topic.

Local distributor Tohocompared the film's opening to that of 2004 hit Crying Out Love In The Centre Of The World, which raked in $72m,estimating that the $17m Sinking Of Japancould go on to gross $59m.

International distributorTBS sold Sinking Of Japan to China's PolyBonaat Cannes, where several other Asian territories, including Korea, were alsointerested in the film.