South Korea's film industry has capped a spectacular year with the number of tickets sold for domestic movies breaking through the 100 million mark for the first time, an official said Wednesday.
The watershed figure was reached Tuesday night, and compared with the previous box office attendance record of 97.9 million for the whole of 2006, a spokeswoman from the state-run Korea Film Council told AFP.
The surge in ticket sales was driven by blockbusters such as the star-studded casino heist film "The Thieves" and costume drama "Masquerade" -- both of which garnered audiences in excess of 10 million.
In a statement, the Film Council noted "a steady stream of movies with a wider range of themes that ... even touched political and social issues, which fanned local audience interest in domestic movies".
The industry's image was further enhanced by the international success of "Pieta," maverick director Kim Ki-Duk's gritty revenge thriller that won the Golden Lion -- a first for a Korean production -- at this year's Venice International Film Festival.
Stars of "The Thieves" -- (L-R) Simon Yam, Kim Hae-Sook, Kim Yoon-Seok, Jeon Ji-Hyun and Derek Tsang -- with director Choi Dong-Hun (R) in Busan in October. South Korea's film industry has capped a spectacular year with the number of tickets sold for domestic movies breaking through the 100 million mark for the first time, an official said Wednesday.