APAC Disney Content Showcase celebrates achievements, peeps plans

Luke Kang, president of The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific, with Mickey Mouse at the opening ceremony of the Disney Content Showcase in Singapore. [THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY]

SINGAPORE — Luke Kang, president of The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific (APAC), lauded the achievements made by its Korean originals on Wednesday at the APAC Disney Content Showcase held in Singapore.

The showcase is an entertainment conference introducing upcoming Disney content for their streaming service and the silver screen, hosted ahead of the company’s 100th anniversary next year.

“Our Korean dramas have drawn new audiences and performed beyond our expectations,” Kang said. “'Big Mouth,' ‘Soundtrack#1’ and ‘In the Soop: Friendcation’ have become the top three most-watched titles in many APAC markets. Now, consumers want more.”

Luke Kang gives an opening speech at the Disney Content Showcase in Singapore. [THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY]

Kang also specifically pinpointed two upcoming Korean productions by Disney+ for which he has high hopes — “Big Bet” by director Kang Yoon-sung and “Moving” by Park In-je.

“Beyond our APAC titles, I really look forward to ‘Big Bet’ and ‘Moving,’” Kang said. “'Big Bet' stars the legendary Choi Min-sik whose memorable ‘Old Boy’ film not only became a household name in Korea but also won international recognition. This K-drama is a riveting story about survival, taking risks and getting back into the game. ‘Moving’ is an action-thriller based on the works by Kang Full, about three teenagers who discover their unusual powers.”

At the showcase, Disney gave a sneak peak into more than 50 upcoming productions scheduled to premiere in theaters worldwide, including content from Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studios, Lucasfilm and Pixar.

The lineup includes Korean stars such as Park Seo-joon, whose name was shown alongside Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, Teyonah Parris and Samuel L. Jackson of “The Marvels” (2023), a sequel to the 2019 film “Captain Marvel.” Park’s role has not been revealed yet.

“Squid Game” star Lee Jung-jae will star in Disney+’s “The Acolyte,” part of the “Star Wars” series.

“I am extremely happy to have become a member of the Disney Company,” Lee said in Korean through a recorded video shown at the event. “And I hope everyone will look forward to ‘The Acolyte.’”

The Walt Disney Company, established in 1923, is one of the world's biggest entertainment companies, which owns Marvel, Pixar, ABC, ESPN, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. The company seems intent on expanding the global market of streaming content, searching for local storytellers to produce locally-produced content that will resonate with each region’s local audience. The company aims to launch 50 APAC originals by 2023.

At the showcase, The Walt Disney Company APAC revealed it expanded its 70-year collaboration with Kodansha, the largest Japanese publishing company that produces manga and literary magazines, to include Japanese animations as well.

The expanded collaboration will include licensing exclusive animation titles based on manga produced by Kodansha, to be kickstarted by “Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown Arc” which will launch exclusively on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar in January 2023.

“We are focusing our content development on what we refer to as our content white space,” Kang said. “We're investing in areas that require more local specificity — either due to high popularity in select markets, like Japanese anime, K-Dramas or Indonesia rom-coms and horror, or [to answer] the need for local storytelling with talent that are familiar to our local audiences. We want to serve our viewers in every market with globally branded content like Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar, as well as locally produced stories that resonate with them, while also taking the best of those stories global.”