From a music documentary about BTS to an original Indonesian superhero series, here are some of the exciting titles unveiled at the recent Disney Content Showcase Asia Pacific 2022.
Since Disney+ has reached the Philippine shores, Filipinos get to revel more in the streaming giant’s continuously evolving roster of movies and shows. And there’s something to get more excited about as The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific recently unveiled a powerful slate of over fifty streaming and theatrical titles to be released next year. Held at the Marina Bay Sands convention center in Singapore, the Disney Content Showcase Asia Pacific saw the entertainment company flexing its growing collection of APAC titles following an eight-fold growth in streaming hours spent on the company’s locally produced Asian content.
“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 of The Walt Disney Asia Pacific, in his opening remarks on November 30, 2022. “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.”
And as Disney has revealed in the event, which has gathered hundreds of international press, partners, celebrities, creatives, and fans, its 2023 APAC lineup brims with stories that look to resonate across the region and beyond. From major Marvel tentpoles and animated feature films to Japanese animes, K-dramas, and Indonesian rom-com and horror shows, here are some of the titles that you should put in your radar.
The first titles presented at the showcase were already presented previously at Disney’s D23 Expo in California last September. One of them was Pixar’s banner feature for next year, Elemental. Helmed by Korean-American filmmaker, voice actor, storyboard artist, and The Good Dinosaur director Peter Sohn, Elemental is set in Element City, where air, fire, water, and earth residents live together.
And as the recent trailer for the animated film features, it centers on the friendship between the tough-witted and fiery young woman Ember and the go-with-the-flow guy Wade. At the content showcase, Sohn showed a behind-the-scenes segment on Elemental which he dedicates to his late, immigrant parents. With Pixar being known to produce award-winning and iconic animated films that always give us the feels, Elemental is definitely not to be missed as it comes out in June next year.
Another film to be hyped up about is one of Marvel’s Phase Five movies, The Marvels. Picking up right after the events of Disney+ series Ms. Marvel and a sequel to Captain Marvel, The Marvels follows Brie Larson as the Avenger Carol Danvers, Iman Vellani’s teenage mutant Kamala Khan, and Teyonah Parris’ S.W.O.R.D agent Monica Rambeau as they team up to figure out the reason behind an anomaly when they use their superpowers. With Samuel Jackson as S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury and the recent announcement of South Korean oppa Park Seo-Joon joining the cast, you have every reason to get excited about The Marvels as it flies to theaters on July 28, 2023.
A subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, the Georgle Lucas-founded Lucasfilm also boasts a strong slate of films and shows on its belt that will thrill the Star Wars fans. One of them is The Acolyte, a mystery-thriller that takes place centuries before Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (the first film in the prequel trilogy) and follows a former Padawan as she reunites with her Jedi Master to investigate a series of crimes that will thrust them into facing far more sinister forces.
Another reason to be excited about this eight-episode series is its diverse and powerhouse cast which boasts names like The Matrix’s Carrie Anne-Moss, The Hate U Give’s Amandla Stenberg, the Emmy Award-winner Lee Jung-Jae from Squid Game, and the Filipino-American The Good Place star Manny Jacinto among others. The Acolyte screams exclusively on Disney+.
TOKYO REVENGERS: CHRISTMAS SHOWDOWN ARC
For the anime fans, this one’s for you! After 70 years of collaborating with Japanese publishing house Kodansha in the publishing sphere, The Walt Disney Company finally expands this partnership and will start venturing into the world of anime. “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,” said Carol Choi, The Walt Disney Company APAC’s executive vice president of original content strategy, at the APAC content showcase. “We look forward to bringing the anime titles and prized IP by Kodansha to the world stage.”
This extended partnership includes licensing exclusive SVOD anime titles based on Kodansha-produced manga that will be available exclusively on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar. And the first title to mark this landmark collaboration is Tokyo Revengers: Christmas Showdown Arc. Adapted from Ken Wakui’s popular and award-winning manga, Tokyo Revengers follows the time leaper Takemichi Hanagaki who, after accidentally using his powers to go back in time and save his girlfriend from a sinister gang, causes a massive shift in the destinies of those around him. The show streams in January 2023.
With a market of over 275 million people, Indonesia rightfully deserves the spotlight at the Disney APAC content showcase. With a host of original and adapted Bahasa content, Disney taps into the largest archipelago’s culturally diverse trove of stories and talented storytellers. The Disney+ Hotstar original superhero series Tira seems to be the hottest title of them all.
Produced by award-winning filmmaker Joko Anwar and helmed by Zahir Omar, the eight-episode miniseries follows 23-year-old Suci who is struck by a curse after saving children from a mysterious ritual. The aspiring stuntwoman now has to free herself by confronting nine evil people possessed by dragons before the time runs out. The first live action series from Jagat Sinema Bumilangit (Bumilangit Cinematic Universe), Indonesia’s version of the MCU, Tira stars Jeremie J. Tobing as Haikal, Bhisma Mulia as Ben, Agnes Naomi as Maudy, and Chelsea Islan as the titular role of Tira/Suci.
BTS MONUMENTS: BEYOND THE STAR
After signing a deal with South Korea’s entertainment and lifestyle platform company HYBE earlier this year, the Walt Disney Company APAC has been showcasing the creative excellence of the K-Pop music industry on the world stage. And perfect examples would be Disney originals centered on the exceptional career and talent of the 21st century pop icons BTS. Earlier this year, the streaming giant released BTS’ 4K concert film BTS: Permission To Dance On Stage – LA much to the ARMY’s fanfare while last year, the reality show series IN THE SOOP: Friendcation, which featured V of BTS, was among top three most-watched titles in the majority of APAC markets on the streaming platform.
And once again touted at the recent content showcase is another original content that will definitely melt some purple hearts. BTS Monuments: Beyond The Star is a musical docu-series which chronicles the incredible global takeover of BTS, featuring a vast library of music and footage over the past decade. The show will zoom in on the daily lives of the band members as well as their thoughts and plans as they chart their second chapter. It’s also announced that BTS’ J-Hope will get his solo documentary. BTS Monuments: Beyond The Star is set to premiere on Disney+ under STAR next year.
It seems that there’s no stopping the Hallyu wave from capturing the globe as Disney has prepared a slew of South Korean content to satisfy our K-loving hearts. One that will particularly excite Filipinos is the crime-thriller Big Bet. Set in the Philippines, the series revolves around the comeback of an ill-fated casino mogul who returns to the gambling scene, aiming to be the legendary figure in the Philippine gambling that he once was, risking everything he has, including his own life.
Directed by Kang Yoon-sung, who’s also present at the content showcase, Big Bet stars South Korean veteran actor Choi Min-sik (Oldboy) as the protagonist with Seon Seok-koo (My Liberation Notes), Lee Dong-hwi (Reply 1988), and Heo Sung-tae (Squid Game). Catch Big Bet on Disney+ as it streams just before the holidays on December 21.
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER
Reportedly getting the most cheers from the audiences at the Disney APAC content showcase, James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel to his record-breaking and cultural zeitgeist of a film, is probably the most awaited title of this year. With the re-release of Avatar in the theaters last September, Disney’s subsidiary and production arm 20th Century Studios is preparing you to inhabit the epic world of Pandora once more, this time set more than a decade after the events of the first film and tells the story of the Sully family, “the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure.”
Thirteen years in the making, Avatar: The Way of Water is dubbed as one of the most expensive movies of all time with a mega-budget of 250 million dollars. So expect some groundbreaking visuals and just transcendent storytelling as the spic sci-fi tentpole movie hits the theaters on December 16. Avatar’s comeback sees the return of familiar names like Zoe Saldaña, Sam Worthington, and Sigourney Weaver with franchise newcomers Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Michelle Yeoh, and Kate Winslet.
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