Korean sleeper hit King And The Clown has clocked up morethan 8.2 million admissions, making it Korea's third biggest box office hit of all time after Taegukgi with 11.7 million admissionsand Silmido with 11 million.

A month after the film'srelease, local distributor Cinema Service upped the number of screens from 459to 491 for the Lunar New Year holiday this past weekend, taking the film backup to number one from its previous number two ranking.

Budgeted at $4.5m, King And The Clown is a historical dramatisationabout two clowns who satire the tyrant King Yonsan and end up playing dangerousgames within his court. With Farewell MyConcubine overtones, the transvestite clown of the duo becomes an object offascination for the wild and troubled king.

Since the film's release,word-of-mouth has spread along with media coverage of what is now referred toas the "King and Clown syndrome", with key 30 to 40-year-old audiences flockingto see the film.

King And The Clown is based on a successful play which has received a new run because ofthe film. It follows in the footsteps of box office hits Welcome To Dongmakgol and MemoriesOf Murder which were both based on popular plays as well.

Directed by Lee Joon-ik, whopreviously directed historical comedy OnceUpon A Time In A Battlefield, the film stars Kham Woo-sung (Spider Forest) opposite Lee Joon-ki,whose star is on the rise with his role of the charming transvestite.

International sales agent CJEntertainment premieres the film at the European Film Market this month.

King And The Clown's record is followed by Friendwhich scored 8.1 million admissions and 2005's top hit Welcome To Dongmakgol with 8 million.