A series adaptation of recently-released feature film “Anita,” a biopic of the actor and Cantopop singing star Anita Mui, heads an expanded slate of East Asian content that will join the Disney Plus streaming service over the next year.
Disney Plus has been gradually rolling out its operations across Asia and in October unveiled a roster of Asian films and series. Its recent uploads include controversial Korean series “Snowdrop,” “Blackpink: The Movie,” and Korean series “Outrun by Running Man” and Japanese show “Tokyo MER” in several territories. Directed by Longman Leung, “Anita (Director’s Cut)” will comprise five episodes of 45 minutes and be available on the platform from Feb. 2, 2022.
Produced by Edko Films, Leung’s underlying feature movie premiered as the closing night film of the Busan festival in October. It was released commercially in Hong Kong on Oct. 21, 2021 and became the biggest local picture of the year, and the second biggest film of 2021 at the Hong Kong box office with a HK$61.3 million ($7.86 million) haul. It was released in mainland China from Nov. 12 and grossed RMB113 million ($17.7 million).
An original under the Star banner, a South Korean series going into production is “King of Savvy,” a crime action drama about a casino king who is taking risks and trying to get back into the game. The cast is headed by “Old Boy” star Choi Min-sik. The Arc Media-produced series is directed by Kang Yoon-sung (“The Outlaws”).
Disney Plus will also release “A Lifelong Journey,” a Chinese-language drama series adapted from a novel of the same name, which won the 2019 Mao Dun Literature Prize. Produced by Hong Dao Film Company, it tells the story of a Chinese blue-collar worker and his family, and the many societal changes they experience across different generations, and stars Lei Jia-Yin and Song Jia.
Currently in production, “Taiwan Crime Stories” is an original Mandarin-language psychological thriller series that started shooting last November. Inspired by four true crime investigations: a terror-stricken mass murder of a family; a chilling rape; a murder case and fraud and injustice cases. An international collaboration, the 12-part series is co-produced by Calfilms (Taiwan), Sixty Percent Productions (Hong Kong), and the U.S.’s Imagine Entertainment. The exclusive series stars Rhydian Vaughan, Patrick Shih, Simon Hsueh, Allison Lin, Frederick Lee, and Wang Po-Chieh.
Disney Plus said that “subject to local availability, the new APAC content titles will be available on the streaming service over the next year.”
The company said that the projects are part of Disney’s ambition to produce local language content and greenlight over 50 Asia-Pacific originals by 2023.
“There is tremendous appetite globally for high quality Asian content and original stories with great cultural resonance. We will continue investing in the best content and collaborating with the most sought-after creative talent and storytellers in the region so they can shine on the world stage,” said Jessica Kam-Engle, Disney’s APAC head of content & development.