2006/03/12 14:06 KST
SEOUL, March 12 (Yonhap) — "The King and the Clown," a modestly budgeted period drama, has surpassed the 12-million mark in ticket sales, the film’s distributor said Sunday.
"As of Saturday, combined nationwide ticket sales reached 12,015,420, and it is still being shown on 206 screens," Cinema Service said.
The movie broke South Korea’s box office record a week ago by selling a cumulative 11.75 million tickets at cinemas during the two months it had screened, beating the previous record of 11.74 million tickets established by "Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War" two years ago.
Since the film directed by Lee Joon-ik opened on 190 screens on Dec. 28, it snowballed in popularity to peak at 400 screens last month.
The story of two court jesters whose performances appeal to the normally unsympathetic heart of the tyrant King Yeonsan (1476-1506) has been the talk of town for its unusual subject matter and surprise success. One of the film’s lead actors, Lee Joon-ki, rose from obscurity to stardom overnight, and traditional folk performances such as tightrope walking, which are seen in the movie, are enjoying a boom in popularity among the general public.
The movie is South Korea’s candidate to compete in the Cannes Film Festival this year with the new English name "The Royal Jester," according to its publicist, CJ Entertainment. Its script is richly laden with humor and the language of the royal court.
With a production cost of just 4.3 billion won (US$4.4 million), the movie has proven much more profitable than "Tae Guk Gi," which cost 14.7 billion won to make.