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‘Miracle in Cell No. 7’ Tops 10 Million Admissions in South Korea

Miracle in Cell No. 7 H

Made for less than $3.2 million, the family comedy is the home-grown film with the lowest budget to reach this milestone.

SEOUL — Miracle in Cell No. 7 this weekend became the eighth domestic movie to record at least 10 million admissions in South Korea. It has the smallest budget of any of the films to achieve that milestone.

Director Lee Hwang-kyung made the film, which opened Jan. 23 in theaters, for 3.5 billion won ($3.169 million), along with an additional 2.3 billion won ($2 million) for marketing. Revenue from ticket sales so far is 74.5 billion won ($67.5 million). N.E.W. (Next Entertainment World), a relatively smaller company, is behind it.

Ten million moviegoers would represent about one-fifth of the Asian country’s population. The family comedy needed to sell 1.7 million tickets to break even; it reached the 10 million plateau on Saturday night.

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Lee Jun-ik’s King and the Clown, released eight years ago, had been the lowest-budgeted film among the group, having been produced for 4 billion won (with another 2 billion won for marketing).

CJ Entertainment costume drama Masquerade, which reached 12.3 million tickets sold just a few months ago, sported a production budget of about 6 billion won ($5.43 million), plus an additional 5 billion won ($4.53 million) to promote it.

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Miracle stars Ryu Seung-ryong as Yong-gu, a good-hearted, middle-aged man with the mental capacity of a 6-year-old. When he ends up in prison, his cellmates – some of the country’s deadliest criminals — are moved by Yong-gu’s love for his daughter and scheme to reunite the family by “smuggling” the little girl behind bars.

Miracle ceded its top box-office spot to local noir actioner New World this weekend.