Korea’s ‘Concrete Utopia’ Lands North America Streaming Release (EXCLUSIVE)

“Concrete Utopia,” the highly regarded drama-thriller that was South Korea’s Oscars contender and one of the biggest box office hits of 2023, has scored a streaming release in North America.

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Rakuten Viki, which specializes in Asian content, has licensed exclusive rights to the film in the U.S. and Canada and will begin streaming it to North American audiences from Friday.

The film, which stars Lee Byung-hun (“Squid Game,” “I Saw the Devil,” the “G.I Joe” franchise), Park Seo-jun (“Parasite,” “What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim”), and Park Bo-young (“Strong Girl Bong-soon,” “Doom at Your Service”), opened in Korea on Aug. 9 at the top of the box office, and went on to earn $28.0 million from 3.85 million admissions.

Based on the second part of webtoon, “Cheerful Outcast” by Kim Soong-nyung ,“Concrete Utopia” portrays Seoul devastated by a powerful earthquake which has left the Hwanggoong Apartment complex as the only building still standing. Lee’s character Young-Tak temporarily leads the residents of the apartment complex, but as the crisis unfolds, moral values are tested.

Variety’s review by Owen Gleiberman said: “[‘Concrete Utopia’] places its characters in a desperate, scary, do-or-die situation and then refuses to tell the audience what to think about them. It’s a fractious, blood-soaked drama about the will to survive that feels like ‘Earthquake’ crossed with ‘Lord of the Flies’.”

After its Korean theatrical debut, the film played at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sitges International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest.

“As the appetite for Asian entertainment continues to grow with U.S. audiences, this is a significant moment for Rakuten Viki as we look to raise the bar in offering the latest and most buzzworthy titles to fans,” said Jaehee Hong, SVP of content at Rakuten Viki. 
Lee Kyung Joon, managing partner at 815 Pictures, the North American distributor of the film said, “’Concrete Utopia’ is a perfect example of current Korean cinema which balances cinematic artistry and entertainment.”

Since launching its movie rental service in 2021, Rakuten Viki has brought more than 450 films to the platform including blockbusters “The Point Men,” “Seobok,” “Emergency Declaration” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Part of Japan’s Rakuten group, Rakuten Viki’s over-the-top platform for dramas, variety shows, movies and awards shows – translated into 150+ languages by a community of avid fans is available in some 250 countries and territories and offers tiered subscription layers. The Rakuten Viki app has some 160 million downloads. The company also invests operated the Soompi entertainment news portal and invests in original content via Viki Originals.

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