Drama Casting & News
Return of Iljimae sold to Japan
by | January 13, 2009 | 14 Comments

Return of Iljimae hasn’t started airing yet (it kicks off next week), but it’s been sold to Japan for $1.32 million (that’s $55,000 per episode, 24 episodes total).

A production company rep explains that the series was sold after buyers saw a mere 10-minute selection of highlights.

Pre-sale of a series to Japan or other Asian countries isn’t that unusual for very anticipated series (like East of Eden or A Star’s Lover), but what I find odd is that unlike those other series, Return of Iljimae doesn’t feature any big actors — the leads (Jung Il-woo, Yoon Jin-seo) are relatively new even in Korea, not to mention internationally. The supporting cast is more experienced (Kim Min-jong, Jung Hye-young), but they’re not at a carry-a-show-with-my-fame level. Furthermore, it’s a Korean historical drama without flashy fusion tricks.

The prodco rep said that for these reasons, the sale was a happy exception from the rule (of how series are usually exported with big names, big ratings, or flashy premises). I’m choosing to look at this as a positive sign for the series. (*fingers crossed*)

Return of Iljimae is MBC’s next Wednesday-Thursday drama and begins on January 21.

Via Asia Economy, Yonhap News


14 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. yaaay

    aaw cool, its my first time commenting and yay I’m first =D

  2. mimi

    i am Glad with this but but have you notice MBC crazily Sold OF their Projects even made a dirty Case Like ” Superstar-talentless – face and body only please ” like Song seung heon won Daesang.

    MBC = materialistic

    i knew every company looking for money
    but MBC they even left their quality For money

  3. Jean

    The Return of Iljimae may get a 2-minute time-out on Feb 5, 2009 @ 9:55 pm, per a campaign being organized by the Counter Ban for Park Shin Yang.

    Those interested to know more please refer to: http://cb4py.wordpress.com/about/

  4. Carol

    $55,000? 0_0?….darrrrrn maybe i should start writing dramas!

  5. murillin

    I’m hoping this drama will be good. I didn’t watch the other one because of Lee Jun-Ki, damn I really hate that guy, because his dramas are all about him looking pretty.

  6. tokai

    $55.000 ?

    Honestly… I thought this is pretty cheap. I don’t want to know what an episode of any silly US show costs when sold oversee… sometimes a single actor gets more then $100k (or even more) per episode already there.

  7. sonam

    Beautiful sexy Asian eyes.

  8. belleza

    “urthermore, it’s a Korean historical drama without flashy fusion tricks.”

    Ehhh . . . from the previews, the fusion element is pretty strong in this one too (retro-70s cop music, flying bits, etc.) It’s just not as smirky as Hong Gil Dong or campy/cartoony as The Dark Iljimae.

    Part of me is holding out for a Damo-style drama. Also, I’m looking forward to seeing Kim Min Jong once again onscreen.

    “i knew every company looking for money
    but MBC they even left their quality For money”

    The international sales subsidize the costs of big budget projects. A lot of big projects simply couldn’t be done without the expansion of the market. On occasion, certain projects are actually made mostly for the international market, and their airing is almost like an obligation. Star’s Lover. Bad Love. So on.

  9. Lime;

    they bought it after seeing 10 minutes? huh. well…here’s hoping there’s no regret after it airs.

  10. 10 azzuri

    So far their posters are cool – let’s hope that’s a good omen. And no bunny ears for the male lead?

  11. 11 d

    why mbc so copycat ?

  12. 12 belleza

    “why mbc so copycat ?”

    Not really a copycat per se. Both Iljimae projects were announced at around the same time. MBC had already done an Iljimae in the mid-90s, so this was viewed as a remake. SBS Iljimae barely has to do with the original story.

  13. 13 okayy


  14. 14 Jo

    looking back to this article, after watching so far into the frama, I think it was a great idea to share this art with Japan-which also took part in the shaping of iljimae and the overall cinemography!

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