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Netflix follows up Squid Game phenomenon with 25 Korean originals for 2022

Adaptation Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area launches this year

Hot on the heels of its unprecedented success with Squid Game, Netflix has confirmed that it will release 25 South Korean originals in 2022.

The streaming giant has invested significantly in the Korean market over the past six years, launching more than 130 titles between 2016 and 2021. But with 25 projects coming down the pipeline this year, 2022 marks Netlix’s biggest Korean slate to date.

Series on the docket over the next 12 months include zombie-invasion drama All of Us Are Dead; Juvenile Justice, about a judge who dislikes juvenile offenders; afterlife fantasy drama Tomorrow; satirical drama Remarriage & Desires; A Model Family, about a man on the brink of bankruptcy and divorce who stumbles upon a car filled with cash; and drama series The Sound of Magic, based on the popular webtoon Annarasumanara.

These are joined by several romantic drama series: Forecasting Love & Weather; Business Proposal; Thirty Nine; and Twenty Five, Twenty One.

In 2022, Netflix will also premiere the previously announced Korean adaptation of hit Spanish series Money Heist. The Korean version, Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area, follows a genius strategist and his talented crew who attempt to pull off an unprecedented heist on the Korean peninsula.

On the film side, new projects this year will include Seoul Vibe, where the adventures of a special-ops team take place against the backdrop of the 1988 Seoul Olympic games; Love & Leashes, which follows a romance between a man with a unique taste and a woman who stumbles upon his secret; spy thriller Yaksha: Ruthless Operations; and Carter, about an agent suffering from memory loss who is thrown into the middle of a mysterious mission.

Netflix’s Korean team also commissioned Celeb Five: Behind the Curtain, a fake documentary about the South Korean girl group composed of female comedians.

While the global appetite for Korean content has grown in recent years, the sweeping popularity of survival drama Squid Game – which Netflix says is the biggest show it has ever launched – and supernatural drama Hellbound have put an exclamation point on the audience potential both for Korean content and local-language content more broadly.

The economics also make a lot of sense. According to leaked data, Squid Game was made on a budget of US$21.4m. However, the project was projected to generate around US$891m in what Netflix calls “impact value,” an internal metric used by the streaming service to measure the economic contribution of a given series.

Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk has previously said that a second and possibly a third season could be in the works. Netflix has not officially committed to anything at this time, stating in November that a “second season is in discussions but not confirmed yet.”

Of the upcoming slate for 2022, Don Kang, Netflix’s VP of content (Korea), said “We believe this is a slate that showcases more of the inventive and gripping Korean storytelling that the world has come to love.

“To do that, we will continue to invest in Korea’s creative ecosystem and, together, we will keep on showing the world that ‘made in Korea’ means ‘well-made.’ This year, we look forward to the new conversations that will be sparked by a new wave of stories, as we help Korean content find homes in the hearts and minds of our global audience.”

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