Korean Hit ‘Concrete Utopia’ Now Streaming on Rakuten Viki

Rakuten Viki, one of the largest streaming services for Asian content, begins streaming Korean box office hit Concrete Utopia exclusively starting Jan. 26. 

The film, which stars Lee Byung-hun (“Squid Game,” I Saw the Devil), 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 in early August and quickly became a smash-hit, securing the No. 1 spot at the box office for one week, accumulating nearly 4 million admissions. The film also enjoyed critically acclaimed runs at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sitges International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest.

Concrete Utopia is a disaster-thriller based on the second part of webtoon Cheerful Outcast by Kim Soong-nyung. After Seoul is devastated by a powerful earthquake, the Hwanggoong Apartment complex is the only place still standing. Young-Tak (Lee Byung-Hun) temporarily leads the residents of Hwang Gung apartment, but as the crisis unfolds, moral values are tested.

“As the appetite for Asian entertainment continues to grow with US 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.

Kyung Joon Lee, 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. We are thrilled to have this film to meet audiences through Rakuten Viki, where lovers of quality Asian content gather.”

Since launching its movie rental service in 2021, Rakuten Viki has brought more than 450 films to the platform, including blockbusters such as The Point Men, Seobok, Emergency Declaration and Everything Everywhere all at Once, and the most recent success, Love Reset. Rakuten Viki’s movie rental service brings hit films to fans shortly after their box office run in Asia to homes across the U.S., along with iconic and beloved classic Asian cinema. Through the movie rental service, Rakuten Viki is able to offer viewers a vast and eclectic selection of films from Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, and other countries across Asia.

Rakuten Viki is available to anyone to watch for free (with advertisements) or without advertisements with tiered subscriptions of Viki Pass Standard for $5.99 per month and VikiPass Plus for $9.99 per month. Rakuten Viki is available on several platforms, including desktop, mobile and Web. More than 162 million users have downloaded the Viki app.

Rakuten Viki Bows North American SVOD Platform, Adds Asian Movie Sales

Rakuten Viki, an SVOD platform featuring Asian content, March 22 announced it is introducing a new transactional video-on-demand movie rental service for the North American market. The TVOD platform affords subscribers earlier access to new movie releases, and is available via desktop browser, Roku, Amazon Firestick, Apple TV+, Android TV, Chromecast, and on mobile devices.

The $4.99/$9.99 SVOD platform is launching in the U.S. with the debut of two Korean films: Josée as an exclusive and New Year Blueswhich released in December and February respectively.

South Korean romance ‘Josee’

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“With the launch of TVOD, viewers can quickly and easily access films … that they can then watch anytime, anywhere and at their own convenience,” Sarah Kim, SVP of content and partnerships, said in a statement. “It’s also a way to watch in-demand, exclusive content that isn’t too hard on the wallet.”

Josée, which will be exclusive to Rakuten Viki, is a romantic drama film based on a Japanese short story, Josee: The Tiger and the Fish, written by Seiko Tanabe. It was directed and written by Kim Jong-Kwan and stars actress Han Ji-min (One Spring Night, Familiar Wife) as Josée and actor Nam Joo-hyuk (Start-Up, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo) as Lee Young-seok.

New Year Blues follows the lives of four couples who must each overcome different fears and problems as they face the beginning of a new year. The movie was directed by Hong Ji Young and stars Kim Kang Woo, Yoo In Na (Goblin), Yoo Yeon Seok (Hospital Playlist, Mr. Sunshine), Lee Yun Hee, Lee Dong Hwi (Reply 1988), and Chen Du Ling.

TVOD is the latest service addition to Rakuten Viki, which showcases a vast collection of more than 1,700 TV shows and movies from Korea, Japan, mainland China, Taiwan and Thailand that are accessible for free or through a subscription.

Rakuten Viki’s library includes a myriad of movies, romantic comedies, K-dramas and variety shows both current and catalog, with many available the day after they air in their origin country. Titles include Korean zombie thriller Train to Busan, Chinese romantic comedy Go Go Squid!, popular K-Drama True Beauty, and hit K-pop survival show “I-Land.”

Rakuten Viki also houses a number of Korean shows that inspired U.S. TV series, including “The Good Doctor,” which served as the basis for the same-named series on ABC, and “King of Masked Singer,” which served as a model for one of the hottest U.S. shows of 2020, “The Masked Singer.”

Rakuten Viki Launches Private Watch Parties

Asian content-themed SVOD Rakuten Viki Oct.26 announced new software that enables subscribers to host their own private Watch Parties for friends and families in the United States. Following the initial summer rollout, the new feature enables users to schedule their own private viewing sessions from a wide selection of movies and TV shows.

The virtual group watch feature has become all the rage at competing services such as FandangoNow, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV and Hulu. Rakuten Viki’s Watch Party allows viewers to interact without the assistance of auxiliary apps and services. 

By logging into their Rakuten account, users can host their own private Watch Party and join other “parties” for free using a link provided by the host. Currently, the private Watch Party only works with select movies and the first episodes of drama series. Once a Watch Party starts, users can interact with others within the community via a chat board running parallel to the media player, as well as select subtitles and personalize subtitle preferences. In the future, Watch Party plans to expand to all drama episodes, increase content availability, incorporate more community features, and be available in more regions.

“The new feature is … another way for us to bring our community together to engage conversations with each other, especially in the midst of the pandemic,” Cathy Chang, VP of product at Rakuten Viki, said in a statement.

Rakuten Viki, which costs $4.99 a month for ad-supported standard access, and ad-free Plus Pass for $9.99 a month, is currently promoting watch parties around select Halloween movies, including The Wailing and Rampant

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The debut of the new viewing feature comes as Rakuten Viki expands service across 150+ languages. The service has a collection of more than 1,400 TV shows and movies from Korea, Japan, mainland China, Taiwan, and Thailand. Its library includes myriad movies, romantic comedies, K-dramas, and variety shows both current and classic, with many available the day after they air in their origin country.

Subs can find titles such as Korean zombie thriller Train to Busan, Chinese romantic comedy Go Go Squid!, K-Drama Hotel Del Luna, and K-pop survival show “I-LAND.” Rakuten Viki also houses a number of Korean shows that inspired U.S. TV shows, including “The Good Doctor,” which served as the basis for the eponymous series on ABC, and “King of Masked Singer,” which served as a model for Fox TV’s “The Masked Singer.”