‘Pachinko’ hits Apple TV+ today, but it almost didn’t make it

Apple TV+ will see the debut of pachinko today and while it’s launching at a time where Korean shows and movies are popular, that was absolutely not the case when it was being shopped around. In a new interview, the people behind pachinko explain how it landed at Apple TV+ after a five-company battle for it.

pachinko is an ambitious intertwining of three timelines that also include just as many languages, all happening at the same time. That’s a big project in itself, and executive producer Michael Ellenberg tells Variety that the team was “insane” to even try to sell pachinko to TV and streaming outfits.

“In retrospect, I think we were insane,” jokes executive producer Michael Ellenberg, an HBO vet and founder of Media Res, the production company behind the show. More seriously, he notes that pre-“Parasite,” it was already clear “the Korean wave was already happening” in film, music and TV.

While pachinko did have interest from buyers, the main problem was getting the funding required. Plans required money on the level of Succession and The Crownbut getting that level of backing was not easy according to executive producer Theresa Kang-Lowe.

“In retrospect, I think we were insane,” jokes executive producer Michael Ellenberg, an HBO vet and founder of Media Res, the production company behind the show. More seriously, he notes that pre-“Parasite,” it was already clear “the Korean wave was already happening” in film, music and TV.

Based on the New York Times bestseller, Pachinko is a sweeping saga that chronicles the hopes and dreams of a Korean immigrant family across four generations. Starring Academy Award-winner Yuh-Jung Youn, Lee Minho, Jin Ha, and Minha Kim, Pachinko premieres March 25, only on Apple TV+ https://apple.co/_Pachinko

The series stars Soji Arai as Mozasu, Jin Ha as Solomon, Inji Jeong as Yangjin, Minha Kim as teenage Sunja, Lee Minho as Hansu, Kaho Minami as Etsuko, Steve Sanghyun Noh as Isak, Anna Sawai as Naomi, Junwoo Han as Yoseb, Jung Eun-chae as Young Kyunghee, Jimmi Simpson as Tom Andrews, Yu-na Jeon as young Sunja, and Academy Award-winning actress Yuh-Jung Youn as older Sunja.

Ultimately, five offers were made for pachinko and it was Apple TV+ that won out. The company has made a name for itself for throwing money at projects and that seems to have been the case here. As is often the case with these things, pachinko fans have Apple’s deep pockets to thank for its arrival.

You can read more about how the new Korean show came to Apple TV+ in the original Variety interview piece.

If you want to enjoy pachinko in style, be sure to check out our list of the best Apple TV deals on the market today.

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