[HanCinema's News] "Arthdal Chronicles" Underperforms Its 45 Million Dollar Budget
By William Schwartz | Published on
On June 15th "Arthdal Chronicles" hit its lowest point yet in the ratings, 5.787% in its fifth episode. Even granting its rebound to 7.226% the following night, the drama's performance has been quite poor relative to the high quantity of money invested in it.
While the drama has received its fair share of aesthetic criticisms, that can't provide a full explanation for the poor performance of "Arthdal Chronicles", as even the drama's premiere started out at only 6.729%. The entire project appears to be a misappraisal of the current market. Though a historical drama, "Arthdal Chronicles" has relatively little political content, being set in an ancient proto state. This may be a critical, unrecognized source of the genre's popularity.
The production of "Arthdal Chronicles" may also have overestimated the drawing power of its lead star Song Joong-ki, particularly as Jang Dong-gun's character has taken on increasing importance in the narrative. It's also possible that the ratings are not as bad as they appear - "Arthdal Chronicles" is not necessarily aimed at the terrestrial South Korean market, and success may be defined more by the on-demand and international markets.
Written by William Schwartz
"Arthdal Chronicles" is directed by Kim Won-seok, written by Kim Yeong-hyeon, Park Sang-yeon, and features Jang Dong-gun, Song Joong-ki, Kim Ji-won, Kim Ok-vin, Kim Eui-sung, Park Hae-joon. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2019/06/01~Now airing, Sat, Sun 21:00 on tvN.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.