CJ Entertainment’s period drama Masquerade has clocked up more than 12 million admissions, according to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), contributing to a record box office haul for local films in Korea this year.

Directed by Choo Chang-min and starring Lee Byung-hun, Masquerade has now taken the number four spot of all-time in Korea. It recently screened in the London Korean Film Festival as well as at the Abu Dhabi fest. 

According to KOFIC, 2012 has been a record-breaking year for Korean films, with more than 100 million total admissions as of Nov 20, beating the record set in 2006 of 97.9 million admissions.

No less than two films this year – Masquerade and Showbox’s The Thieves - went over the 10 million admissions landmark, with the latter displacing Bong Joon-ho’s The Host as the top local hit. Other films such as Nameless Gangster: Rules Of The Time, Architecture 101, All About My Wife, Deranged and A Werewolf Boy, which opened this month, also contributed to the phenomenon.

KOFIC credits such factors as production companies targeting specific audiences while maintaining rational budgets; an even sprinkling of genres and releases throughout the year, and high season releases such as The Thieves and Masquerade. In addition, Kim Ki-duk’s Pieta won the Golden Lion at this year’s Venice film festival, which increased the profile of Korean films with the general public.