SEOUL, August 28, 2023 — Kakao Entertainment continues to solidify its position as a global production studio for Korean content with a rich lineup of shows to be released in the second half of 2023.
Following last year’s global mega-hits such as Business Proposal, Hunt, and Narco-Saints, the diverse array of titles to be released this year demonstrate the company’s outstanding production capacity. Prioritizing the creators’ autonomy, Kakao Entertainment has built a solid multi-studio system that not only enables individual production houses to unleash their full creative potential but also leverages organic synergy among them. Kakao Entertainment’s upcoming lineup includes adaptations of its original stories to creative shows that target global audiences and will cover a variety of screen platforms including streaming, TV, and films.
In line with this goal, the TV dramas Not Others and The First Responders Season 2, as well as the film Concrete Utopia launched off to a good start with impressive viewership. Not Others was produced by Kakao Entertainment’s production subsidiary Baram Pictures in collaboration with Arc Media. This drama is an adaptation of a popular webtoon of the same name. The series tells the story of a careless mother and her cool-headed daughter who live together and bicker about everything because they never see eye to eye, all the while portraying the underlying love in their relationship. Since its debut in July, the drama enjoyed rave reviews and increased viewership ratings. The First Responders Season 2 was produced by Kakao Entertainment’s Mega Monster in cooperation with Studio S. Building on the huge success of Season 1 last year, Season 2 is enjoying great popularity as it delivers a richer story by adding forensic analysts in the mix of police officers and firefighters. BH Entertainment, which has expanded its business into content production, recently took part in producing the movie Concrete Utopia, riding on the momentum created by its Netflix series Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area last year. With its high artistic quality and box-office potential, the film has been well-received by audiences and critics alike. Expectations are now higher since it has recently been chosen to represent Korea at next year’s Academy Awards of the U.S. in the best international feature film category.
Song of the Bandits, a Netflix series produced by Baram Pictures in collaboration with Urban Works and Studio Dragon, will premiere on September 22. It packs an impressive cast including Seohyun, Yoo Jae-myung, Lee Hyun-wook, Lee Ho-jung, and Kim Nam-gil. Set in the turbulent period of Japanese occupation in the 1920s, the action-charged drama depicts a story of Koreans who head to the lawless land of Gando for different reasons but unite as one to protect their precious homeland. The passionate storyline of the much-anticipated show follows Japanese soldiers, independence fighters, hitmen, bandits, and displaced Koreans as they confront one another in life-or-death situations.
Returning from a hiatus after her sensational performance in Extraordinary Attorney Woo last year, actress Park Eun-bin will come back in October with a show titled Castaway Diva (working title). The upcoming TV drama co-produced by Baram Pictures, Studio Dragon, and Kakao Entertainment revolves around the story of an aspiring singer named Seo Mok-ha who gets stranded on an uninhabited island and returns to the world after 15 years with a rekindled dream of becoming a diva. The third reunion of Oh Choong-hwan, the director of Big Mouth and Hotel Del Luna, and Park Hye-ryeon, the writer of Pinocchio and I Can Hear Your Voice is raising anticipation for yet another superb drama. Park Eun-bin will play the role of Mok-ha while Kim Hyo-jin depicts the role of Yoon Ran-joo, a top star and diva that Mok-ha admires. Other cast members include Chae Jong-hyeop as Kang Bo-gul, a producer of YGN’s entertainment department, and Cha Hak-yeon as Kang Woo-hak, Bo-gul’s older brother and YGN’s news reporter.
Kakao Entertainment will also showcase its grand projects targeted at audiences around the world. One such project is Gyeongseong Creature, a Netflix series scheduled for a simultaneous, worldwide release in the fourth quarter. Set in the spring of 1945, a grim era of bitter darkness, this thriller portrays the story of a young man and woman who struggle for survival while fighting monsters born out of human greed. It is written by Kang Eun-kyung and directed by Chung Dong-yoon from the creator group Gleline, produced by Story & Pictures Media, and co-produced by Kakao Entertainment and Studio Dragon, with Park Seo-jun from awesome.ent as the main lead actor. Fans from all over the world are anticipating the chemistry between Park Seo-jun and Han So-hee, and the show has garnered greater attention after the news that the second season has been confirmed even before the first season premieres.
The Worst of Evil, a Disney+ original series that has gained a spotlight after the announcement of its scheduled release on September 27, is produced jointly by Kakao Entertainment and two of its production subsidiaries: Baram Pictures and Sanai Pictures. Set in the 1990s, the crime action drama follows undercover police investigators who infiltrate a criminal gang based in Gangnam, the center of drug trafficking between Korea, China, and Japan. The show has generated a lot of buzz due to its stellar cast which includes Ji Chang-wook, Wi Ha-jun, and Lim Se-mi.
On the big screen front, a host of films are waiting to hit the theaters, including Hopeless (produced by Sanai Pictures), which received rave reviews when it was screened at the Cannes Film Festival this year after being invited to the Un Certain Regard section of the event, The Plot (working title, produced by Zip Cinema) that features Gang Dong-won in the leading role, and more.
In addition to the lineup for this year’s second half, Kakao Entertainment is accelerating its drive to plan and produce unique shows with creative storytelling, with more than 30 dramas and films in the pipeline. It will directly plan a variety of titles, including Nine Puzzles (working title), the second drama directed by Yoon Jong-Bin. Subsidiary production houses are also working on a solid lineup of projects. In partnership with Pan Entertainment, Baram Pictures is producing You Have Done Well (working title), directed by Kim Won-suk and written by Lim Sang-choon.
“Based on our unique multi-studio system that combines the creative potential of actors and creators with our content business experience in such areas as planning and distribution, we are aiming to produce high-value titles that can transcend boundaries of different platforms,” said Jang Se-jeong, head of scripted content business at Kakao Entertainment, “We will continue to create quality content that wins the hearts and minds of global audience to help Korean content become mainstream in markets around the world.”