Prime Video documentary about SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man in the works

A feature documentary about the life of Lee Soo-man, the founder of K-pop agency SM Entertainment is in the works at Amazon Prime Video.

The film will be produced by production company This Machine and filmmaker Ting Poo, who is behind the 2021 Prime Video documentary Val about actor Val Kilmer, Deadline reports.

The documentary, reportedly entitled Lee Soo-Man: The King of K-Pop, will be “chronicling the enthralling life of a bold visionary whose work put his country on the map, sparked a global movement, and continues to define an era,” according to a press release cited by Deadline.

The news comes amid reports that Lee’s role as chief producer at SM Entertainment, a company that he founded in 1995, is coming to an end at the end of the year. The agency is behind some of South Korea’s biggest K-Pop acts like SUPER JUNIOR, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, EXO, Red Velvet, KANGTA, BoA, TVXQ!, NCT and aespa.

SM Entertainment told shareholders in September that “with the 25-year-old production system Lee established running well, he is confident that good junior producers will manage without much difficulty. He added it is also reasonable to humbly accept minority shareholders’ opinions to step down (as chief producer),” The Korea Times reported at the time.

SM Entertainment cut ties with Like Planning, a private company wholly owned by Lee, in October and his fate as chief producer of the company he founded is set to be determined at the next general meeting in March 2023.

Last month, South Korean game publisher Com2uS bought a 4.2% stake in SM Entertainment, a move that some critics say would support Lee at the next meeting.

Despite reported tensions about Lee’s present-day influence at SM Entertainment, the producers of his documentary brand him as “a futurist and visionary on the scale of Steve Jobs,” according to Deadline.

“He is a world-builder and a technologist whose original creation has taken over global entertainment, one K-Pop band at a time,” according to the reported release.

“I couldn’t be more excited to work with the incredible teams at Prime Video and This Machine to tell the story of one of the most influential creators of our time.”

Ting Poo, Filmmaker

Ting Poo described Lee as “a modern-day Willy Wonka whose story will resonate with dreamers everywhere.”

“I couldn’t be more excited to work with the incredible teams at Prime Video and This Machine to tell the story of one of the most influential creators of our time,” Poo reportedly said.

The documentary will be produced by Ting Poo, Jenny Turner, This Machine’s R.J. Cutler, Jane Cha Cutler, Elise Pearlstein, and Trevor Smith, and Teddy Zee.

This Machine, a unit of Sony Pictures Television, is behind the Billie Eilish documentary called Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, released on Apple TV+ in 2021, and The September Issue, released 2009, which featured Vogue Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour.

The producers have yet to announce the target release date for the Lee Soo-man documentary, but once finished, the documentary is expected to reach audiences through Prime Video across 240 countries and regions, Deadline says.

Speaking about the documentary, Brianna Oh, Head of Documentary Features at Amazon Studios, reportedly said: “We are thrilled to reunite with Ting Poo to capture Lee Soo Man’s dynamic career and undeniable influence on K-Pop and the music industry as a whole.”

“We are confident this incredibly talented filmmaking team will deliver an emotional and compelling documentary that our Prime Video customers around the world will fall in love with.”

Music Business Worldwide

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