Netflix had a huge year in 2020, both in terms of its stock, its subscriber numbers, and its huge, zeitgeist-grabbing hits. But an under-appreciated aspect of Netflix’s recent success has been just how international its programming has become.
The company has been both licensing and producing content overseas, which not only has safeguarded the company against the possibility of a coronavirus-related programming crunch, but has also been filming shows in other countries.
Now, according to Deadline, Netflix has leased space in production studios in South Korea. The streaming giant, which has spent $700 million on Korean production in the last five years, has agreed to lease nine stages at two production facilities, for such shows as “Kingdom,” “The King: Eternal Monarch,” “Start-Up,” and ”It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.” The company has made more than eighty shows in that country.
The new studios being leased are the YCDSMC—Studio 139 and Samsung Studio, both on the outskirts of Seoul in Gyeonggi Province.
“Netflix is thrilled to deepen its investment in Korea, as well as Korean films and series,” Netflix VP Studio Operations Amy Reinhard said in a statement to the outlet. “With these new studios, Netflix is better positioned than ever to increase our production of great stories from Korea while also providing a wealth of production-related jobs for talented professionals in Korea’s creative community.”
Also on the subject of Netflix and the cinema of South Korea, per The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix announced that the South Korean sci-fi action movie “Space Sweepers” will debut worldwide on February 5. The movie, directed by Jo Sung-hee and starring Song Joong-Ki and Kim Tae-Ri, is described as “South Korea’s first big-budget action film set in space.”
“After successfully snatching a crashed space shuttle in their latest debris chase, Victory’s crew discovers a 7-year-old girl inside. Realizing that she’s the humanlike robot wanted by UTS Space Guards, they decide to demand ransom,” the Reporter said of the film, which comes from the production company known as Merry Christmas. An official teaser trailer has also been released.
Like so many other high-profile films, “Space Sweepers” was scheduled for theatrical release in 2020, but the pandemic and the unavailability of movie theaters led to its acquisition by Netflix.
Another South Korean film, Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite,” in 2020 became the first foreign-language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, among several other Oscars that it won. However, Netflix had nothing to do with its production; the film was distributed in the U.S. by NEON, and found its streaming home on Hulu.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.