With over 20 unmissable titles released since The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific’s 2022 Content Showcase, Disney+ is preparing to launch its latest slate of APAC content with a curated selection of new originals and quality storytelling set to debut exclusively on the popular streaming service from now through 2024 and beyond.
Consumer response towards Disney’s APAC originals in the first half of the year has been positive. In its premiere week, season two of Korean crime-action series Big Bet starring legendary actor Choi Minsik replaced season one as the most watched locally produced original series on Disney+ in Korea. Korean drama series Dr. Romantic ranked #1 in the majority of APAC markets in its first month based on hours watched, and live action Japanese thriller Gannibal and anime Tokyo Revengers secured spots in the top five most-watched titles in Japan during their first week of launch.
“With the success of our initial wave of APAC originals, we will continue to build on this momentum by delivering exceptional storytelling through the second half of 2023 and beyond,” said Carol Choi, Executive Vice President of Original Content Strategy, The Walt Disney Company APAC. “Thrillers, crime-action and fantasy, centered on strong storylines from Korea and Japan, are resonating with audiences and we look forward to continued collaboration with leading content creators and storytellers from this region.”
In the second half of 2023 through 2024, Disney will be launching some of its most anticipated local APAC originals and stories, including:
• Moving – Adapted from the smash webtoon of the same name by famed Korean author Kangfull, Moving stars Ryu Seungryong, Han Hyojoo and Zo Insung in a captivating story about a group of superpowered individuals on the run from government forces and a mysterious assassin who has been dispatched to take them all out. Moving is slated to debut exclusively on Disney+on August 9.
• The Worst of Evil – In 1990s Seoul, a former DJ seizes control of a gang and begins pushing a potent new drug (nicknamed “Gangnam Crystal”) in the city’s nightclubs. With little known about the source of this drug, rural police officer Park Joonmo is recruited to bring down the trafficking triangle from the inside. Slated to debut later this year exclusively on Disney+, this new series stars Ji Changwook; Squid Game actor Wi Hajun, and Lim Semi.
• Vigilante – A star student at the police academy, Jiyong is a burgeoning martial arts master and a bookish academic who has spent over a decade haunted by the image of his mother being murdered in front of him by a stranger. Exacting his revenge on the non-repentant offender, Jiyong is set along a path that will see him target other offenders, using the knowledge gained at the police academy to avoid being caught in Vigilante.
• Soundtrack #2 – In 2022, Soundtrack #1 captured audiences with its touching story of unrequited love and emotionally poignant score. With Soundtrack #2, this fan-favorite series returns late 2023 with a new storyline of two young sweethearts who break up after six years together, only to be reconnected again. Starring Keum Saerok and Steve Sanghyun Noh, Soundtrack #2 will also see the return of Kim Heewon, the director behind the show’s hit first series.
• BTS Monuments: Beyond The Star – An exclusive Disney+ original and part of Disney’s collaboration with HYBE, this music docu-series will chart the incredible journey of 21st century pop icons BTS. With unprecedented access to a vast library of music and footage over the past nine years, the series will feature the daily lives, thoughts and plans of BTS members, as they prepare for their second chapter.
• Han River Police – Starring Kwone Sangwoo and Kim Hiewon, this upcoming Korean fictional comedy action series follows the crazy antics of Seoul’s Han River Police Force as they patrol the waterways and respond to emergency situations including terrorist incidents, accidents and more.
• Dragons of Wonderhatch – A hybrid story set in both the “real world” and an anime land called Upananta where dragons and humans coexist, Dragons of Wonderhatch tells the cross-dimensional story of Nagi, a high school student who feels out of place; Thaim, a dragon rider who communicates with dragons in Upananta, and Aktha, a dragon rider hero. Dragons of Wonderhatch stars Sena Nakajima, Daiken Okudaira and Mackenyu.
• A Town Without Seasons – When the Nani disaster hit Japan 12 years ago, countless residents had their lives turned upside down and were bundled into temporary housing left to rebuild their lives. This Japanese live action original tells the story of Hansuke, recruited to spy on the remaining residents but ends up recognizing the makeshift town as his new home and coming to terms with the disaster that took almost everything from him.
• Tokyo Revengers: Tenjiku Arc – The popular anime series, part of Disney’s collaboration with Japanese publishing house Kodansha, returns with the fan-favorite Tenjiku Arc depicting the “Kanto Incident” and the last war between the Tokyo Manji Gang, led by Manjiro Sano; and the Tenjiku, led by Izana Kurokawa. Will Takemichi, the former bad boy turned time traveler, be able to stop a tragedy in the past to save the present? Tune in this October to find out!
• PHOENIX: EDEN17 – Produced by STUDIO4°C and based on the legendary manga “PHOENIX” by Osamu Tezuka, this series follows Romi and her partner as they flee the dystopian hellscape of earth in the hope of a better life on the planet Eden, only to discover that Eden no longer exists.
With 2023 set to round-off with music docu-series NCT 127: The Lost Boys, Japanese anime SYNDUALITY Noir, and an all-new ice show performance by Japanese ice-skater Yuzuru Hanyu, 2024 also promises to be packed full of quality storytelling. Next year, audiences can look forward to Korea’s A Shop For Killers and Red Swan, and Japan’s House of the Owl and Murai In Love, all slated to join an ever-expanding collection of stories from APAC set to be announced soon.