CJ E&M successfully taps into global showbiz

By Kim Young-won
  • Published : Jun 24, 2016 - 15:22
  • Updated : Jun 24, 2016 - 17:15
[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s leading media giant CJ E&M has been persistently pushing to tap into the global show business to develop a new business model.

And “Kinky Boots,” a Broadway musical, is one of its latest and most successful efforts.

CJ E&M, which has participated in the production of the musical since 2012, is responsible for bringing the energetic stage performance to the Asian markets including China and Korea.

A scene from Kinky Boots.

“As a co-producer of ‘Kinky Boots,’ CJ E&M was able to build a business model to infiltrate the global markets by obtaining intellectual properties. Along the way we made inroads into the global musical market, including West End of London, Australia, and Asia,” said Lauren Park, CJ E&M’s live entertainment business unit.

In 2014, CJ E&M was named as a member of the Broadway League, an association of producer and theater operators which oversees the stage play and musical industries across the US. Currently, the “Kinky Boots” troupe is on tour in the US and UK.

The company is currently looking to pick up more intellectual properties for a firmer foothold in the market.

“CJ E&M is a pioneer, and our efforts have helped more people enjoy unique and unprecedented content,” Lee Sang-gil, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of CJ E&M.

Having first hit the stage in Korea in December 2014, Kinky Boots has been performed around 107 times in the nation. Nearly 100,000 people have watched the show in Korea.

The musical -- based on a film inspired by a true story -- first opened at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in Manhattan in April 2013. As of this month, it has been staged up to 1,300 times around the world to rake in revenues of up to $200 million.

Kinky Boots first earned its fame after winning six Tony awards, including those for best theater choreographer, best costume design, and best musical.

It also picked up best new musical, best actor and best costume designer awards at the 40th Olivier Awards this year.

The plot features the protagonist Charlie Price, who wants to revive a struggling shoe factory, and his business partner and drag queen extraordinaire Lola.

Navigating a series of hurdles to reinvigorate the failing factory, the duo successfully gets the business back on track. In fact, they manage to create a whole new clientele by creating the world’s first collection of couture drag boots that they showcase at a Milan fashion show in Italy.

CJ E&M is also involved in other creative projects.

The company owns the rights for staging the musical adaptation of the film “August Rush” for global release. It is also looking to independently produce Broadway musicals in the near future.

By Kim Young-won, THE INVESTOR correspondent (