Wattpad Webtoon Increases Its Production With Songs Like ‘Sweet Home’

In time for reboots, reruns, and sequels, Wattpad Webtoon aims to bring more original stories to Hollywood and take on the franchise. As Wattpad Webtoon Studios President, Aaron Levits says diverseThe goal is to showcase the production banners and media platforms that fans of web and series devoted to their television adaptation of those titles will cater to. It is working so far.

The Korean drama “Sweet Home” and Webtoon’s Wattpad and the young adult film series “The Kissing Booth,” both on Netflix, gave the company an early boost to its Hollywood success. And now, the recent hiring of Fox Entertainment and AMC Entertainment President David Madden as Head of Global Entertainment is another example of the company’s move to increase its presence in the entertainment industry.

“We are better and stronger with two large intellectual property libraries, united with so many stories and more than 166 million people around the world who come to create, interact with, and participate in our platforms every month,” said Levits.

Collectively, Wattpad Webtoon Studios has over 100 on-screen and publishing projects in development or production. The studio division of Wattpad – the original story platform best known for its extensive collection of fan stories – and Webtoon, the original webcomics platform, joined forces shortly after the South Korean internet conglomerate Naver acquired both platforms in May 2021.

By June, Naver had committed $100 million to the multi-format global studio umbrella to develop and produce television shows, movies, and books that rely on fans and data.

“Often, the traditional industry doesn’t allow new names to emerge in storytelling,” said Levits, who has been with Wattpad since 2017. The CEO, who has focused on democratizing how new literary talent is discovered and supported within the company, was chosen to head the merger of the Wattpad and Webtoon studio divisions last summer.

“It’s great to be able to work with such a diverse group of writers from around the world who tell the stories they want to tell,” Levitz added.

Wattpad Webtoon Studios projects already in production from story to screen include “Float” starring Robbie Amell (“Upload”) and Andrea Pang (“Comfort Kim”) with Lionsgate; “The QB Bad Boy and Me” Starring Noah Beck, sexy TikTok with Creator Plus; “Perfect Addiction”, produced by Jeremy Bolt at GB Pictures and Robert Coles from Constantine Film; “GremoryLand” with Vertigo Entertainment by Roy Lee; and “Lore Olympus,” a Webtoon illustrated story read by over a billion people, with Jim Henson.

In addition, Wattpad Webtoon Studios owns more TV and film content with creative partners Paramount Global, Fremantle, and the Lion Film Group, among others.

The studio canopy has already seen the fruits of its work with the adaptation of Ariana Godoy’s Wattpad YA romance novel A través de mi ventana (“Through My Window”) on Netflix. Starring Clara Galli, Julio Peña Fernandez, and Guillermo Lacheras, the film climbed into the top 10 international non-English film ratings for three months after its February 2022 premiere. Netflix selected the film for two additional sequels that have already begun shooting.

“Original content swelled with the evolution of the internet and the shape of mobile,” said Ken Kim, CEO of Webtoon Entertainment. “By embracing this wave, we have created property rights for creators everywhere and made it a healthy and comfortable place for everyone. This diversity has been the source of market acceptance.”

Adapting the IP of Wattpad and Webtoon into streaming series and movies was a natural progression for both companies, and they have already managed to immerse themselves in the on-screen story space separately.

“The Kissing Booth” has been made by Netflix into a movie trilogy starring Joey King, Jacob Elordy and Taylor Zachar Perez from the Beth Rickles Wattpad novel of the same name, beginning with the first part in 2018. Based on the Wattpad thriller produced by Zoe Aarsen and produced by AwesomenessTV, Wattpad Studios, Gramnet, and has been nominated for ten Daytime Emmy Awards over two seasons broadcasted between October 2018 and October 2019.

“There are already millions of people waiting to see the edits,” Kim added. “I think this is part of the content evolution that will continue to happen. In Asia, we are already becoming a popular content platform with a huge push to adapt.”

Webtoon’s current partnership with anime, manga, and drama distributor Crunchyroll, for example, has spawned highly-rated shows based on titles from its platform, such as “Noblesse,” “The God of High School,” and “Tower of God.”

Netflix’s shocking Korean drama “Sweet Home” debuted in December 2020. Originated from Webtoon, “Sweet Home” has been renewed for two more seasons after being watched by 22 million subscribers in the first month of its release. “Sweet Home” became the first-ever original South Korean live-streamed series to reach the top 10 hit charts in the US (it peaked, at one point, at number three) and was in the top 10 in more than 70 countries.

“I think there is strength in interesting and creative stories,” Kim said, noting that viewers around the world are hungry for completely original content, whether it’s through animations, live shows and movies based on Webtoon, or Wattpad’s extensive libraries.

Kim and Levitz (along with the legions of readers eager to see their favorite comics or story) believe that merging the studio’s departments into one and tapping into fan loyalty has unlocked the full potential of Hollywood for the company’s portfolios.

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