Walt Disney Co DIS has unveiled a line-up of more than 20 new content titles from the Asia-Pacific region, including 18 original productions, that will be streamed over its Disney+ service.
What Happened: Disney+ is expanding its market outreach in the Asia-Pacific region — the service is available in Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand, and will be premiere next month in Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.
Luke Kang, president of The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific, said the company’s partnership with local content creators will “deliver unparalleled storytelling to global audiences.” The company plans to release more than 50 original Asia-Pacific productions by 2023, and the initial slate of titles originate from Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan.
The new Disney+ titles span multiple genres including anime, comedy, crime drama, documentary, melodrama, romance, science-fiction and variety. One production, the K-pop documentary “Blackpink: The Movie,” will also be theatrically released.
Other notable titles that will arrive on Disney+ include “Rookies,” starring K-pop singer Kang Daniel in a coming-of-age series set in a South Korean police academy; “Summer Time Rendering,” a Japanese anime production based on a best-selling manga title; “Shipwreck Hunters,” a documentary on maritime mysteries off the coast of Western Australia; “Wedding Agreement — The Series,” an adaptation of a popular 2019 Indonesian film about a couple learning to live together in an arranged marriage; and “Gannibal,” a Japanese drama about a policeman assigned to a rural village who slowly uncovers the truth behind stories of cannibalism in his district.
Why It Matters: While Disney+ is seeking to secure wider audiences in the Asia-Pacific market with a greater emphasis on locally produced fare, it also tapping into shifts in audience tastes on this side of the Pacific. Whereas Asia-Pacific films and television series were previously limited to either art house venues or under-the-radar cult followings, these productions are increasingly finding their way to mainstream audiences.
Rival streaming service Netflix NFLX, which has made Asia-Pacific programming a staple of its line-up, scored a pop culture bullseye this fall with its presentation of the South Korean series “Squid Game.” Last year, the independent film distributor Neon made history when its South Korean release “Parasite” became the first non-English-language film to win the Academy Award as Best Picture. "Parasite" grossed $53 million at the U.S. box office, making it the fourth highest grossing foreign film to play in this country.
Earlier this year, A24’s South Korean release “Minari” received six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, with Youn Yuh-jung making history as the first performer in a non-English-language role to win the Best Supporting Actress honor. While the closure of theaters earlier this year hampered the box office tally for “Minari,” the film was a top-viewed rental offering on Apple’s AAPL Apple TV PVOD platform and on Alphabet’s GOOG Google Play.
Photo: Kang Daniel and Chae Soo Bin in a publicity photo for the upcoming series "Rookies," courtesy of Disney+.
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