The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific has recently has recently showcase its upcoming slate of movies from its major studios and unveil an expanding collection of APAC Originals for its streaming service at Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands.
Over 50 shows from Disney’s 2023 theatrical and streaming content slate will be presented to over 400 international press and partners. Some of the celebrities in attendance include the cast and creative minds behind Disney’s APAC Originals — Japanese director Miike Takashi, Korean stars Jung Haein, Ko Kyungpyo and Kim Hyejun from the crime fantasy thriller Connect; Lee Donghwi, Heo Sungtae and acclaimed director Kang Yunsung from Big Bet; Yuya Yagira, Riho Yoshioka and director Shinzo Katayama from Japanese drama series Gannibal; and Chelsea Islan from the upcoming Indonesian super hero series Tira. Pixar’s director/animator/storyboard artist/voice actor Peter Sohn, director of the all-new, original feature film, Elemental, will also be at the event.
“Last October, at our first APAC Content Showcase, we made our first step into local content production with an ambitious, long-term plan to uncover the world’s best stories from this region, and to showcase creative excellence that can shine on the world stage,” said Luke Kang, President, The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific in his opening remarks. “This year, it was important for us to showcase the breadth of our global branded content from our award-winning studios and iconic franchises, as well as our APAC content slate for 2023.”
Over the last year, over 45 new APAC titles have sunrised on Disney’s streaming service, with several shows gaining commercial and critical success. Big Mouth, Soundtrack #1 and IN THE SOOP: Friendcation were among the top three most watched titles in the majority of APAC markets in their premiere week. The total hours of locally-produced Asian content streamed on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar is eight times more than it was a year ago.
“We are focusing our content development on what we refer to as our content whitespace,” said Mr. Kang. “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 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.”
The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific also announced today an expansion of its long-standing collaboration with leading publishing house Kodansha to include Japanese anime. For 70 years, Disney and Kodansha have worked together in the publishing space, and will now venture into the world of anime. This expanded collaboration will include licensing exclusive SVOD anime titles based on manga produced by Kodansha, starting with Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown Arc that will launch exclusively on Disney+ Hotstar in January 2023. Disney’s streaming services now reach over 235 million subscribers across 154 markets worldwide.
“The special relationship between Kodansha and Disney stretches back over 70 years, and has seen us bring to life many Disney licensed publications,” said Yoshinobu Noma, Kodansha Representative Director and President. “With today’s announcement, we are thrilled to be able to further diversify and elevate the relationship between our two companies and share even more of our beloved anime titles with the world on Disney+ and its streaming platforms.”
“We are thrilled to deepen our strategic collaboration with our long standing partner Kodansha on such an exciting genre,” said Carol Choi, Executive Vice President of Original Content Strategy, The Walt Disney Company APAC. “Japanese anime fills the white space in our content development plans and we believe this expanded collaboration will be a game changer in Disney’s future animation strategy in Japan. We look forward to bringing the anime titles and prized IP by Kodansha to the world stage.”
As part of Disney’s International Content & Operations, the new APAC projects that will be unveiled now will include original productions by leading content creators. The slate will feature star-studded scripted live action tent-pole series including drama, comedy, fantasy, romance, science-fiction, crime, horror; to variety shows, documentaries and anime from several markets including Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Australia. The new projects unveiled now are part of Disney’s ambition to greenlight over 50 APAC Originals by 2023.