Bong Joon-ho's sci-fithriller The Host is already whippingup unprecedented advance bookings in Korea, selling more tickets in a shorterperiod than ever before, according to producer Chungeorahm Film.

Starting three weeks beforeits July 27 release, advance bookings for about 100 select theatres have beenselling like hotcakes, with the multiplex Megabox COEX site alone selling 2,000tickets in advance.

Online ticket reservationsites Maxmovie and Yes24 are saying the film is bringing in more bookings in ashorter period of time than any other film on record. The 200 online ticketsfor The Host Special Package, whichincluded T-shirts and publicity booklets, sold out in a record-breaking 30 minutesafter they went on sale.

The film's ticket sales arealso reportedly reaching a wide spectrum of age groups - a key factor behindrecent record-breaking hits such as KingAnd The Clown, Taegukgi and Silmido.

A Chungeorahm representativesays the company is discussing a wide release on about 500 screens - approximatelya third of the screens in the country - with distributor Showbox Mediaplex.

Anticipation over The Host has also helped raise stock prices for Mediaplex, which successfully debuted on the KOSDAQ market last Friday. The subsidiary of confectioner Orion Group went for a direct listing, in contrast to the many entertainment firms that have recently entered the stock market through mergers in backdoor listings.

Meanwhile, another highly-anticipatedlocal production, CJ Entertainment's Hanbando,is set for release tomorrow (July 13). Directed by hit-maker Kang Woo-suk (Silmido), the film is currently numberone for online ticket reservations on major sites.

The two films look set towin back local market share after a two-month wave of Hollywood blockbusters including The DaVinci Code and Pirates Of The Caribbean - DeadMan's Chest.

The Hosthas been building up interest since its successful world premiere in Director'sFortnight at Cannes. Pre-sold to Japan's Happinet Pictures for $4.7m, the film is scheduledfor release on more than 250 screens in that territory this September.