Disney+ Korean Drama Gets English-Language Dub for Hulu



Can U.S. audiences connect with a supernatural thriller about South Korean spies tasked with protecting their superpower-enhanced children from harm by malicious government agencies? Disney is about to find out.

Moving,” an elaborate drama that blends espionage, conspiracy and fantasy themes, emerged over the summer as international Disney+’s first Korean-language hit. The series, which stars Ryu Seungryong, Lee Jungha, Go Younjung, Zo Insung and Han Hyojoo, has also clicked in Japan, Hong Kong and other Asia Pacific region markets. As of Dec. 13, Disney will test the waters for the show in the U.S. as English-dubbed episodes of “Moving” premiere on Hulu. Episodes is also available on Hulu with English-language subtitles, for those who prefer.

Disney is among the many Western media conglomerates exploring South Korea’s vibrant media marketplace with local-language series production. As it builds out Disney+ and related platforms, the mighty Mouse House is investing in original series in key territories including Asia Pacific, the U.K., Australia, Western Europe, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. The goal is to develop locally specific shows that complement the high-end originals productions delivered by Disney’s in-house imprints Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Nat Geo and other content sources. Disney has to be selective in deploying its content dollars at a time of overall belt-tightening for the industry. But the company’s streaming strategy outside the U.S. is rooted in serving families a mix of high-wattage Disney TV shows and movies, blended with enough local content for kids and adults to make the service a must-have for subscribers in big target markets.

“We’re trying to make content that is really local for local. It has to appeal to the local market. If it’s great, it will travel and that’s what we’re finding with ‘Moving,’ ” Eric Schrier, president of Disney Television Studios and global original television strategy for Disney Entertainment, tells Variety.

“Moving” premiered last August and quickly became Disney+’s most-watched original series for the Asia Pacific region. The show became a been a classic sleeper hit, drawing strong reviews as one of TV’s best active superhero sagas, regardless of language. There’s no escaping comparisons to “Squid Game” and the global sensation that the dystopian Korean drama became for Netflix in 2021. Disney has high hopes for “Moving” to be part of a larger character universe and series franchise.

Carol Choi, Disney’s executive VP of original content strategy for Asia Pacific and managing director of Japan, sees “Moving” as a family show.

“On the surface you see it as a superhero genre show but it connects on a human level,” Choi tells Variety. “It’s about the family connections more than it is about the superpowers.”


Choi noted that “Moving” came to fruition after a few years of Disney working to develop content in the Asia Pacific region in Tokyo and Seoul. The show is based on a hit webtoon, a popular content medium in Asia that blends the look and feel of graphic novels and comic books with digital video in an online presentation. The story and characters were well known to Korean pop culture enthusiasts. But Disney was still pleasantly surprised by the uptake for “Moving” in Japan and other countries. It’s part of a wave of Korea-produced dramas that have caught fire for Netflix, Amazon and regional streamers. As Disney looks to beef up the international subscriber base for Disney+, the stickiness of K-dramas could not be ignored.

“You’ve got a lot of competition with a lot of studios producing series,” Choi says of working with Korea’s creative community. “There’s a lot of well-known filmmakers. The infrastructure was there and the talent was there. The infusion of capital and demand helped [Korea] build a very strong infrastructure.”

Disney primarily commissions local-language shows from regional producers rather than setting up its own in-house production entities. The slate ranges from the action-fantasy costume drama “Renegade Neil,” for the U.K./Europe/Middle East markets, to “Gannibal,” a suspense thriller for Asia Pacific audiences that revolves around a small town in Japan full of dark goings-on, to “El Encargado,” a drama for Latin American audiences about an abusive building supervisor with secrets to hide who is challenged by a determined female tenant.

Schrier’s role in leading Disney’s original TV content strategy around the world has led him to stock up on frequent flier miles – and to be significantly impressed at the talent and work that is emerging.

“International television for American audiences always felt a little stilted,” says Schrier, who was an FX Networks veteran before he was tapped as a key lieutenant to Disney Entertainment co-chair Dana Walden in September 2022. “What we’ve seen the last five to 10 years is how great filmmaking is globally. We’re trying to foster that kind of creativity and storytelling on Disney+.”

(Pictured top: “Moving”)


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