Admissions in South Koreaincreased by 28.7% to 80.8 million from Jan-June 2006, compared to the sameperiod last year, according to local exhibitor CJ CGV, marking the biggestincrease since 2001.

Hits were bigger and morenumerous during the first six months compared to last year, and admissions werealso boosted by an increase in public holidays - including three long weekendsin May for Labour Day, Children's Day and Teacher's Day - and a one-day holiday for regional elections at the end of the month.

The top-grossing film waslocal production King And The Clown,which with 11.8 million admissions is Korea's biggest ever local release, while another Koreanhit, My Boss, My Teacher, clocked up6.1 million admissions.

A total of 10 films,including local and foreign releases, passed the 2 million admissions mark, asopposed to only six in the same period last year, during which Marathon was the biggest hit with only 5.9 million ticketssold.

Local films had a strongstart in January with King And The Clownand My Boss, My Teacher, while two USblockbusters, Mission: Impossible3 and The Da Vinci Code, took in about 7.7 million admissions in themonth of May alone.

Local films held a 59.5% marketshare. But concerns still remain over the reduced Screen Quota of 73 days whichwent into effect July 1.

A recent Korean Film Council(KOFIC) survey of film industry professionals says 65.2% think the industrywill be "adversely affected". However, 59% said the film market on the whole"would not be reduced greatly" and 8.1% said they thought it would grow.

Combined market share forKorean and US films totalled 96.3%, up from 92.2% in 2005. Other Asian andEuropean films' market share went down from 7.8% to 3.7% year-on-year, signalinga polarisation towards local and US films.