Song Joong Ki Declines Screenwriter Kim Eun Hee’s Joseon Zombie Drama Kingdom

I’m not surprised this casting didn’t come through but I actually think it’s a missed opportunity both ways. Song Joong Ki has confirmed to pass on 2018 Joseon era fantasy-tinged drama Kingdom by critically acclaimed screenwriter Kim Eun Hee, who wrote Signal, 3 Days, Phantom, and Sign. The drama will be produced by Netflix and aired exclusively on that streaming medium, with a broadcast date in the second half of 2018. Song Joong Ki’s side explained that he ultimately passed due to his impending wedding to Song Hye Kyo and wanting to focus on that knowing the grueling drama shoot to come. I’m not sure there is that much scheduling conflict as Kingdom won’t air for another year, but it will be pre-produced so likely filming will start before year end. I’m sad Song Joong Ki passed on this as Kim Eun Hee writes gritty and intelligent dramas which will be a welcome change for him as his last drama Descendants of the Sun was so fluffy and less substantive.

The end haul for Song Joong Ki’s ensemble movie Battleship Island is in the 6 million plus moviegoers range, enough to get in the top-50 of K-movies and no flop by any stretch but also a movie that had a explosive first week only to drop off precipitously, always a sign that hype is not sustained by substance.

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Song Joong Ki Declines Screenwriter Kim Eun Hee’s Joseon Zombie Drama Kingdom — 35 Comments

  1. Aw, I’m sad but kudos to him for being a family man. Hopefully he returns next year.

    Now, I could think of a few actors to replace him. Maybe Kim Eun-hee can save Yoo Seung-ho from the two potential disasters MBC offered to him, or lure Park Bogum from his hiatus?

  2. I’m surprised that he passed such a good writer but maybe the role will now go to PBG who is in the same company as him and has lots of potential.

  3. i am sad that he refused this drama by a talented writer and i think it being broadcast on netflix didnt help either.his strategy i think is to focus on movie industry which dont really mind married actors and married actors can still get prestigious roles and films unlike drama industry which relies on the fantasy of singledom.

  4. It’s probably because this drama is exclusive to Netflix. While this writer is good, the premise of this drama is too bizarre. And because SJK’s popularity and status after his military service hiked up, he has to choose his consequent roles carefully.

  5. he might be focusing on a movie project. He is really too big for a drama series it seems. but this is kim eun hee’s drama and I’m abit sad he turn it down since i already miss his acting so much in a small screen. DOTS it’s such a fluffy drama i hope he choose more challenging project.

  6. Well he had the chance to finally be with a good writer after the DotS rating hit but story-wise flop. But then again it’s good to see him have priorities when it comes to his private life.

  7. Park Bo Gum would be nice unless its a role for an early thirties actor. I think it’s a bummer that it’s on netflix. I know that the drama’s content doesn’t change but feelings do. I’m adverse to netflix “originals.”

  8. I actually think it’s good to give Netflix a go. What a joy not to have to worry about ratings. The whole rating thing is such a crapshoot. Best of luck to the happy couple.

  9. It’s in pre-production and filming next month from what I’ve heard. So yeah, there is a lot of overlap. Plus he already said he wanted to wait for what SHK might do before deciding on his next project. The writer is good, but being on netflix does nothing to further his career in Korea. It’s not a popular platform there. The premise is also pretty weird in general. I could see someone who is older and less popular doing this role because of this.

  10. As much as I have faith in Kim Eun Hee, zombie is a big NO to me. No zombie movie/drama ever appealed to me until now. With this news, I am just curious which actor KEH has in mind to replace SJK.

    • Same. I have faith in Kim Eun Hee but I just hate Zombies. It’s not that I’m scared of them (they’re not scary btw), it just that it doesn’t appeal to me too.

    • Me three…. Zombies are just not appealing. And I feel this dramas is too late to jump on the whole zombies bandwagon. This type of storyline should have been produced a few years ago.

  11. Its Netflix exclusive means it won’t air in Korea. It will be only broadcast in Netflix. It was great opportunity for sjk hope he makes it up with better comeback. 2018 seems like zombie year. Hyunbin is doing zombie movie, webtoon zombie series is been adapted for kdrama, and now kingdom

  12. Battleship’s 6.5 million attendance was not enough to break even. 7 million was reckoned to be enough to cover the huge investment and production cost. Even with the overseas takes, the domestic box-office would have to reach 6.7 million.

      • According to Box Office Mojo Battleship Island has made $46M worldwide. $44M of these were earned at home, in Korea. $1M in America, another $1M in various other markets. B.O. Mojo has no intel as to what the budget was. So we don’t know if the movie made money or not. But we do know that it is very far from being an overseas hit.

    • He wouldn’t break internationally. Hollywood isn’t that accepting to Asian male actors. This is a good project for someone like Bae Donna who is already has some international fame.

      • You are not completely wrong. But surely the fact that Bae Doona now has a bit of an international name is due to her doing international projects, including Sense8?

  13. Hope he doesn’t regret it. But then it’s Netflix drama and Netflix isn’t popular in Asian market. It would have been better if it was on air in Korea and then it was broadcasted in Netflix.

  14. I think he made a wise decision. A drama about killing zombies doesn’t look particularly appealing.
    Also, Kim Eun Hee may be considered a great writer, and she is, in a way – as she seems to be smart – but, you know, writing dramas and brains don’t always go together. Her best dramas (in my opinion) remain the ones she wrote with her husband director/writer Jang Hang Jun: “Harvest Villa” and “Sign” (these two were excellent). Whenever she writes alone, she has a way of making everything rather boring. Why doesn’t she work with him again?

  15. @hjm no box office mojo haven’t updated battleship ship island overseas collection. It’s already released in Asian country. It’s made 1.1m in us alone.The information I know is from weibo. There also naver article on overseas collection.

    • @hjw the movie gross collection including both in Korea and overseas is 60m usd. Box office mono took months to update it’s US collection its still haven’t updated about bi collection in many Asian country.

    • I’m still sad he was lost that opportunity. i just have to rewatch nice guy and werewolf boy to feed my thirst of his acting talent.

  16. The box office takes of a movie have to be 3 times its production costs in order to break even. Other costs like promotion, dividends and returns to the theatre and various other fees eat up a large chunk of the box office returns. That Battleship has to reach a domestic attendance of at least 7 million, or 6.6 million if overseas takes are included, is widely reported in Korea. Its overseas takes are decent, but far below the scale of success of Train to Busan. Would have been even lower if not for the star appeal of the two Hanlyu stars.

  17. It was already reported in Korean sites that BI has break-even. 6.5m admissions is already a hit but because it was so expensive to make, that number plus overseas figures were not enough to make a decent profit. The overseas results may not be like Train to Busan, but it was a clear indicator of the popularity of the Hallyu stars, SJK in particular even if in this movie he only had a supporting role.

    • It didn’t break even in Korea but considering it overseas collection, the break point reduces to 6.6m. It made around 6.5m admission in Korea which is quite good despite many controversy.

  18. Idiotic choice? We’re not even sure if the drama’s script and all of it is that good. But him prioritizing his private life especially that this is his wedding to the woman he loves make me respect and admire him more. There will be a lot of good scripts in the future but there’s only one woman he loves and they are getting married. He made the right choice.

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