Feb 14, 2023

Kakao Entertainment announces 2023 production lineup as it expands its premium content portfolio to global markets

Kakao Entertainment announced plans to develop some 30 movies and TV series this year with production companies in its studio network. This year’s development slate is more ambitious in scale than the 20 titles produced last year. Roughly, a dozen titles are already confirmed for release within this year by global streaming platforms, movie theaters, and TV stations; other titles will be confirmed soon. The new lineup reaffirms Kakao Entertainment’s competitive ability to present multiple megahits through its multi-label system and will further solidify its reputation as a global production studio.

“We’ll continue to enhance our studio system and boost synergy with the incredibly talented creatives and production capabilities of our subsidiaries,” said Jang Se-jeong, Kakao Entertainment’s head of scripted content business. “This will allow us to further diversify our premium content IPs and increase our footprint in the global entertainment industry.”

Having captivated audiences worldwide last year with series such as “Narco-Saints” and “Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area,” Kakao Entertainment will plan and develop more content this year based on strong partnerships with global OTT players. Some projects have already scored streaming deals, including the Netflix series “Gyeongseong Creature” and “Song of the Bandits,” Netflix movie “The Match,” Disney+ original  series “Race” and “The Worst of Evil,” all of which are scheduled to premiere this year and are already generating high expectations globally.

Written by Kang Eun-kyong, head writer at content creation studio Gleline, “Gyeongseong Creature” is an ultra-large-scale global project produced by Story & Pictures Media and co-produced by Kakao Entertainment and Studio Dragon. Set in the spring of 1945, which is one of the darkest times in Korean history, the thriller depicts a young man and woman fighting monsters born out of greed. Starring Park Seo-Jun and Han So-hee, the title has not yet premiered but has already been confirmed for Season 2.

“Race,” co-produced by Baram Pictures and Slingshot Studios, is an office drama that follows a group of hard-working individuals trying to prove their potential at a marketing agency. The cast lineup is stellar, including Lee Yeon-hee, Hong Jong-hyun, Moon So-ri, and Jung Yoon-ho.

Another Netflix series, “Song of the Bandits,” is an action melodrama revolving around the lives of Koreans who moved to the lawless land of Gando for different reasons, eventually joining forces to protect their land and loved ones. Planned by Studio Dragon and co-produced by Urban Works and Baram Pictures, the new title is already gaining much attention thanks to a solid cast that includes Kim Nam-gil, Seohyun, and Yoo Jae-myung.

Disney+’s upcoming series, “The Worst of Evil,” will be also produced by Kakao Entertainment’s two subsidiaries, Baram Pictures and Sanai Pictures. Starring Ji Chang-wook and Wi Ha-jun, the crime-action drama follows an undercover investigation started in Seoul, which then escalates into an infiltration mission to crack down on illegal drug trade between Korea, China, and Japan. For this title, Baram Pictures brings its contents planning and development knowhow to create synergy with Sanai Pictures, known for its strength in action noirs.

“The Match,” is a Netflix film that tells the story of two legendary Go players in Korea, Cho Hun-hyun and his protege and future rival Lee Chang-ho. Produced by Moonlight Film and co-produced by BH Entertainment, the movie features Lee Byung-hun in the lead role as Cho Hun-hyun, and Yoo Ah-in as Lee Chang-ho.

Kakao Entertainment is also working to build a stronger catalog of movie productions. Having released “Broker” and “Hunt” last year, it is gearing up to deliver a more eclectic portfolio to the audience, with “Hopeless,” “Cross,” “The Plot (working title),” and “Nocturnal.” “Hopeless” (Sanai Pictures) is an action noire of people who make dangerous choices to get away from their living hell. Directed by Kim Chang-hoon, the movie stars Song Joong-ki, Hong Xa-bin, and Kim Hyung-seo (also known as BIBI).

The spy action movie “Cross” (Sanai Pictures) revolves around a couple, Kang-moo (played by Hwang Jung-min) and Miseon (played by Yum Jung-ah). Kang-moo is a former special forces officer hiding his past from his wife, who is a violent crime detective. When they get involved in the same case, they are forced to work together. Both produced by Sanai Pictures, “Hopeless” and “Cross” are among the year’s most anticipated films.

Additionally, Zip Cinema’s production “The Plot (working title)” is currently in post-production. The thriller is about the boss of a contract murder organization faced with unexpected accidents. Directed by Lee Yo-sup, the film stars Gang Dong-won, Lee Mi-sook, Lee Hyun-wook, and Tang Jun-sang. Finally, “Nocturnal” is a nail-biting action thriller about a man trying to reveal the truth behind the mysterious death of his brother, starring Ha Jung-woo and Kim Nam-gil, from the producers of Sanai Pictures.

Kakao Entertainment will also speed up the planning and production of content based on its original story IPs. Baram Pictures and Arc Media will co-produce the drama adaptation of the webtoon “Not Others (working title)” Serialized on Kakao Webtoon, it features a cool daughter and a helpless mother living together. Released this month, “Our Blooming Youth” is a love story centered on a crown prince suffering from a mysterious curse and a genius girl who is accused of murdering her entire family. The title stars Park Hyung-sik and Jeon So-nee.