THE MONKEY KING - (L-R) MONKEY KING (Jimmy O. Yang) and DRAGON KING (voiced by Bowen Yang).
Cr: Netflix © 2023

Netflix’s decision to adapt a legendary tale for the 42nd time this century alone pays immediate dividends on the Top 10 in 89 countries

Familiarity has not bred contempt in this instance.

As The Last Voyage of the Demeter and Renfield very recently discovered to their detriment, repeatedly adapting the same story or character can often result in nothing but disaster. That being said, Netflix has reaped instant dividends after The Monkey King debuted as one of the streaming service’s biggest hits.

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Familiarity has evidently not bred contempt this time around after the animated and anthropomorphized adaptation of 16th Century novel Journey to the West secured a Top 10 ranking in 89 countries around the world following its premiere on Friday per FlixPatrol, placing it second on the global charts just behind Gal Gadot’s monotonous Heart of Stone.

the monkey king
Image via Netflix

That’s even more impressive when you remember that at least 23 feature films and 18 TV shows to have arrived since the year 2000 have been indebted to the same source material in one way or another, especially when one of the most recent ended up flopping on a rival platform after Disney Plus’ American Born Chinese failed to captivate users in spite of an A-list ensemble and a fantastical modern-day spin.

Stephanie Hsu, BD Wong, Bowen Yang, Hoo Lee, Jimmy O. Yang, and Ron Yuan are just a sampling of the names to have lent their vocal talents to the action-packed family-friendly adventure, which finds the title hero and his weapon of choice embarking on an epic quest to emerge victorious over 100 demons, a maniacal Dragon King, and of course his own ego.

At the time of writing, Rotten Tomatoes scores of 61 and 55 percent are nothing to write home about, but The Monkey King has seized Netflix subscribers nonetheless.


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