South Korea on the big film market
South Korea has not only conquered the world but also Netflix’s investors. But why are South Korean productions so famous these days?
In a bid to boost film productions in South Korea, Netflix is leasing additional studios in two locations near Seoul, reports MTI. YCDSMC – Studio 139 in Pyongyang province will provide six studios for Netflix, while Samsung‘s Studio 139 will provide three.
Amy Reinhard, vice president of studios at Netflix, said in a statement that the development will not only allow them to expand the number of Korean productions but also provide the skilled staff needed for production.
The South Korean entertainment industry has long been at the forefront of Asia, and for years has made a significant global impact in both the music and film sectors.
Filmmaker Bong Joon-ho shot to global fame last year when his critically acclaimed film “Parasite” dominated the awards season. In the film world, The Parasites was a hit with audiences and critics alike and made history by becoming the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture at the Oscars.
South Korean television productions have also long been of high quality and are now available in other parts of the world thanks to streaming services. Netflix spent $700 million on South Korean productions between 2015 and 2020, including more than 80 TV shows.
The newly announced expansion of studio capacity will be used to produce productions such as the Korean adaptation of the hit Spanish series “The Big Money Heist”, as well as several Korean stories.
Netflix, for its part, has focused on the Asia-Pacific region in recent years, as new subscriber growth in other parts of the world has slowed as many people already have paid memberships. The California-based streaming giant is betting big on markets such as South Korea, India, and the entire Southeast Asian region to boost its future growth momentum. Sarandos said Netflix has produced more than 200 Asian original series and films since 2016.
In December 2020, Netflix reported more than 25 million paid memberships in the Asia-Pacific region, compared to more than 200 million globally. But why are these films and series so successful?
Just think of the Korean film industry’s first big hit, 1999’s “Shiri”, which was partly funded by Samsung. It is perhaps unnecessary to explain why it is important that companies of similar importance can support the promotion of culture.
The film does not follow some contrived, forced universal theme, but explores one of the great internal dramas of the Korean people, the conflict between North and South Korea. Nonetheless, it is an action film that is accessible and enjoyable for outsiders with little interest in Korean history. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the film’s domestic box office has surpassed even the cult film “Titanic”, and it has been highly acclaimed beyond Asia.
We could talk about the 2002 World Cup, the K-Pop bands that became increasingly popular in the mid-2000s, PSY‘s Gangnam Style, which became the first to reach a billion views, the 2018 Winter Olympics, Pong Joon Ho‘s Palme d’Or-winning hit film last year, “The Living Spiders” or BTS‘s New Year’s Eve 2020 production in New York.
All of them represent a moment of Korean creativity: they have managed to portray messages, choreography, fashion, personality, style, clothing, colors, and lifestyle that simply make people curious and interested. It is this very curiosity that seems to be South Korea‘s cultural advantage.
Everyone can have the impulse to experience what they want to experience: some may be attracted to members of boy bands, perhaps they are longing for historical costume shows, while others want to discover the mysteries of the Korean language, or simply be in search of the country’s natural beauty.
You wouldn’t think that other nations wouldn’t have similar gifts… the difference is that Koreans have been able to bring it all to us. And the Korean conquest doesn’t stop at the national border.
The cast of “Captain Marvel 2” (officially titled “The Marvels”) has reportedly added South Korean actor Park Seo-Joon. Park stars in the hit K-drama series “Itaewon Class”, “Hwarang”, “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim”, and others, and also had a small role in the Oscar-winning thriller “Parasite” as Min-Hyuk, the wealthy friend of Kim Ki-Woo who gets him a tutoring job in a wealthy household.
According to South Korean entertainment news site Star News, which reported the casting, Park is expected to travel to the U.S. to film his role in “The Marvels” in the second half of 2021, after production wraps on his upcoming movie “Concrete Utopia”.