Success of “Parasite” opens new roads into global market for S. Korean content

Posted on : 2020-02-16 16:58 KST Modified on : 2020-02-16 16:58 KST
CJENM signs partnership agreements with US production company Skydance and Netflix
Filmmaker Bong Joon-ho and actors Song Kang-ho and Park So-dam, from the cast of “Parasite,” hold a Q&A session at The Landmark theater in Los Angeles on Oct. 12, 2019. (Yu Sun-hui, staff reporter)
Filmmaker Bong Joon-ho and actors Song Kang-ho and Park So-dam, from the cast of “Parasite,” hold a Q&A session at The Landmark theater in Los Angeles on Oct. 12, 2019. (Yu Sun-hui, staff reporter)

“The [‘Parasite’ Oscar] win, which ignited celebrations online in South Korea, could mark a watershed moment for its entertainment industry that’s become a key form of soft power for the Asian nation with the explosion of K-Pop and Korean soap operas.” (Bloomberg)

The explosive rise of interest in Korean soft power as “Parasite” fever has gone from Cannes to conquering the Academy Awards is also translating into a rapid rise to prominence for CJENM, South Korea’s number one content company and the film’s investor and distributor. With its name recognition boosted after the success of “Parasite,” CJENM is now planning to expand its efforts to bring movies, TV series, and programs to the North American market.

On Feb. 11, CJENM signed a strategic partnership for global content co-production and investment with Skydance, the US production company responsible for films like “Terminator: Dark Fate,” “6 Underground,” and “Mission: Impossible -- Fallout.”

“Through our business partnership with Skydance, we plan to bolster our premium content production capabilities and global network,” CJENM said. The company also formed a partnership with Netflix in November of last year and plans to produce at least 21 works of original content over a three-year period starting in 2020. This will allow distribution of CJENM’s productions to over 150 million Netflix subscribers in around 190 countries.

CJ has been working over the past several years toward making inroads into the US market, predominantly in the area of cinema. Success in the US -- which forms one of the world’s two biggest markets alongside China and accounts for around 30% of global box office scales -- means success on a global scale. CJENM has reached agreements to produce US remakes of “Sunny” with Universal and “Extreme Job” with HartBeat Productions. Filming is already complete for “Endings, Beginnings,” an independent CJ production directed by Drake Doremus. Over 10 other films are also currently being planned and produced in the US, including remakes of “Hide and Seek,” “Miss Granny,” and “The Merciless.”

In an interview with the Hankyoreh, Tom Quinn, co-founder of North American “Parasite” distributor NEON, predicted that the proliferation of South Korean content through Netflix and other video streaming service (OTT) platforms would generate “synergy.”

Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” and “Snowpiercer” are currently being adapted into TV series, adding momentum to strategies for directly appealing to North American viewers with TV content. “Live,” a series on the tvN network, is scheduled to be remade by the terrestrial network Fox for airing in the US during the second half 2020. The series was co-planned from the early stages with Studio Dragon, a CJ affiliate specializing in TV production. “Memory Highlights,” another tvN series, is also scheduled for airing throughout the US in the second half of 2020 after completion of a format sale contract with Showtime.

“The success of ‘Parasite’ drawing greater global attention to South Korean content compared to the past is very good news for our efforts to advance into the global market,” said Yu In-ho, head of the CJENM communications team.

“We plan to accelerate our efforts to be at the forefront of global content production in areas including broadcasting, film, and music,” Yu said.

By Yu Sun-hui, staff reporter

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