Kakao Entertainment, part of Korean tech group Kakao, confirmed Monday that it is to produce a film version of “Solo Leveling,” a hit webtoon.
The picture will be produced on its behalf by Japan’s A-1 Pictures (“Sword Art Online,” “The Seven Deadly Sins,” “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, Erased,” and “Your Lie in April”) with Nakashige Shunsuke directing. Music is to be scored by Sawano Hiroyuki (“Attack on Titan”). Some media have called it a series, but in email to Variety Kakao Entertainment described the adaptation as a “film” and as “a movie.”
The property was originally a web novel written by Chugong in 2016, before it was developed as a web series written by h-goon with art by Dubu, CEO of Redice Studio, and D&C Webtoon, and released by Kakao Page in 2018.
The action fantasy novel follows the adventures of main character Sung Jinwoo in a world constantly threatened by monsters and the forces of evil. In his battles against these forces, readers watch Sung – dubbed the weakest hunter of all mankind – transform into one of the strongest hunters in existence.
The online series has attracted over 14.2 billion cumulative views worldwide, with particular success in Japan, Thailand and the U.S. It is noted not only for the plot, but also the spectacular art that brings the action to life.
“Solo Leveling” has also been released as NFTs. A role playing game is currently being developed by Netmarble.
Kakao Entertainment reports that some 220,000 fans had petitioned for a feature film adaptation using the change.org website. The film version is scheduled for delivery in 2023. Kakao did not disclose all distribution channels though it has been reported that Crunchyroll will release the film online outside Asia.
“If someone told me that this web novel would become an animation [film] when I was first started writing it six years ago, I wouldn’t have believed them,” said Chugong, in a supplied comment. “I feel so excited about this, and I can’t wait to see Sung Jinwoo and his friends come to life.”
“It seems like it was only yesterday when we first discussed the possibility of this adaptation. Words can’t express how moved I am that this is happening,” said illustrator Dubu.
Kakao Entertainment was established in 2021 from the merger of Kakao Page and Kakao M.