Disney+ has picked up the rights to the book 29 Dates.
The House of Mouse’s streaming service has been lining up all manner of original projects and exclusive rights ahead of its anticipated launch in 2019. The latest is the new young adult book from bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.
The story follows Ji-su, whose traditional South Korean parents are concerned by what they see as her lack of attention to her schoolwork and her future. Working with Seoul’s premiere matchmaker to find the right boyfriend is one step toward ensuring Ji-su’s success, and going on the recommended dates is Ji-su’s compromise to please her parents while finding space to figure out her own dreams. But when she flubs a test, then skips out on a date to spend time with friends, her fed-up parents shock her by shipping her off to a private school in San Francisco, where she’ll have the opportunity to shine academically… and be set up on more dates.
Navigating her host family, her new city and school, and more dates, Ji-su finds comfort in taking the photographs that populate her ever-growing social media account. Soon attention from two very different boys sends Ji-su into a tailspin of soul-searching. As her passion for photography lights her on fire, does she even want to find The One? And what if her One isn’t parent and matchmaker approved?
With its young audience appeal, welcome diversity of characters and accurate depiction of Korean culture, the book has already earned comparisons to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, which has gone on to become a smash hit for Netflix, which adapted the novel into a rom-com this year (a sequel is already in the works).
29 Dates is being fast-tracked for Disney+ by The Gotham Group. De la Cruz, meanwhile, is no stranger to Disney, with several novels by her picked up by Disney in previous years, including The Descendants, Blue Bloods and Witches of East End.
The Gotham Group, meanwhile, is also reuniting with The House of Mouse for the movie: it has just wrapped Stargirl for Disney+, based on the young adult novel from Jerry Spinelli.